Avalanche Spring Training report

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Colorado Roster Update

Coach Patrick Roy addressed a media conference today regarding the outlook oft the Avalanche team for the upcoming season.

“We are extremely pleased with the direction management has taken with our club” quoted Roy. “We had an aging defense corps last year with a crop of young forwards. We have now added youth and depth to the back end. This will not be an overnight fix by any means, but we are looking at building something for the future that will last a few years.”

Prior to the draft, the Avalanche swung two deals to assist with the lack of depth at defense. The additions of defensemen Tyson Barrie and Olli Maatta have provided the Avs with two legitimate top 4 d men. Albeit Maatta will have a limited role this year, big things are expected in the future from this Finnish rearguard. Add in first round pick Derrick Pouliot, who will not see any action this year, and we have the making of a real good crop of defenseman that will join Giordano, Spurgeon, Alzner, Larsson, Vatanen and Hickey. The Av’s last pick in the rookie draft, Adam Clendening, will also spend the season in the minors refinning his game

The goaltending will be just fine with a trio of Finns keeping biscuits out of the basket. Rask, Rinne and Raanta will all get opportunities to display their skillsets and should keep most games close while providing the Avs a chance to win on any given night.

The rebuild continues up front as 8 of 10 draft were forwards. At an early camp skate, it appears that Ryan Johansen will center between Anders Lee and Marcus Johansson. Line 2 has the Nuge between Frans Nielsen and Alex Killorn while the third set has Carl Soderberg skating with David Perron and Reilly Smith. Zemgus Girgensons, Brock Nelson and Nail Yakupov will toil on the 4th line. Ryan Spooner will pick up some games at center while newly drafted Rickard Rakell and Victor Rask will also see a few games. The Av’s have high hopes on draft choices Chris Tierney as welll as Jiri Sekac and Vincent Trochek. They will be expected to be the top line on the farm this year with intentions of promoting them to the big club next year. Other bigger projects involve Lucas Lessio – a power forward with scoring ability, Nick Shore – a player with speed and great vision, and Ronald Kenins – a shifty forward who may turn out to be the surprise pick of the draft, but we are not holding our breath!

“We are coming out of camp with an attitude of playing hard every night. If all works out, we will be in the playoff hunt, but our goal is to work, work, work and let the players continue to develop through games and situations. Our goaltending should gives us a chance every night, but our forwards will have to be big overachievers for us to have an opportunity to play past the regular season. We have a great young core of players that should continue to improve every season. I hate to sound like Babcock, but this rebuild will take time.”

Kevin Anton

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