The Colorado Avalanche finalized their 23-man roster on Wednesday after the team’s fourth day of training camp.
The team announced that defenseman Stefan Elliott and forward Mike Sgarbossa were reassigned to the Lake Erie Monster, and that forward David Van Der Gulik would be placed on waivers on Thursday, leaving Colorado’s roster at the league maximum.
Colorado will open its season on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild, and here are the players who head coach Joe Sacco will be bringing with him.
Forwards (13): Patrick Bordeleau, Steve Downie, Matt Duchene, Milan Hejduk, David Jones, Chuck Kobasew, Gabriel Landeskog, Jamie McGinn, Cody McLeod, John Mitchell, Mark Olver, P.A. Parenteau, Paul Stastny
There are two big storylines surrounding the forwards who will be on the 23-man roster: one being that Patrick Bordeleau is on the roster, and the other being that Ryan O’Reilly is not.
Bordeleau has played for the Lake Erie Monsters the past three seasons and was also playing for them during the recent lockout. Through 29 games with Lake Erie this year, Bordeleau scored twice and tallied five assists.
It is somewhat interesting that Bordeleau would make the team over Sgarbossa, who was having a much more successful year with the Monsters, but in the end, Sacco must have seen something in Bordeleau that he liked.
O’Reilly remains an unsigned, restricted free agent, who is playing overseas in Russia while Colorado and his representatives try to negotiate a deal. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post reports that the Avs will not trade the team’s leading scorer from last season, though.
Outside of that, the list of forwards is as expected. P.A. Parenteau is the newest name on the team, coming over from the New York Islanders via free agency during the offseason.
It’s expected that linemates will be announced in the coming days.
Defensemen (8): Tyson Barrie, Jan Hejda, Matt Hunwick, Erik Johnson, Shane O’Brien, Ryan O’Byrne, Ryan Wilson, Greg Zanon
The main debate concerning the defense was whether Tyson Barrie or Stefan Elliott would make the 23-man roster. We now know that Barrie ousted Elliott in camp and will travel to Minnesota, while Elliott travels back to Lake Erie.
Barrie and Elliott were both playing for the Monsters during the lockout, with Barrie having been more successful. Barrie was third on the team in points with 27, while Elliott only totaled eight points on his season stat sheet.
Erik Johnson led all Colorado defensemen in points last season and will likely be on the ice first on Saturday night. Who will be paired with Johnson has yet to be announced, but one would assume that it could be Shane O’Brien.
Jan Hejda and Ryan O’Byrne would then be the second pairing, and then probably Ryan Wilson and Greg Zanon would be the third. That would leave Matt Hunwick and Tyson Barrie as the fourth pairing, used sparingly.
Goalies (2): Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Semyon Varlamov
No true surprises in net with Giguere and Varlamov.
The Avs have a couple of good goalie prospects in the lower levels of the organization, but not one of them was even invited to training camp. It was just Giguere and Varlamov saving shots on net this week.
When the season opens on Saturday in Minnesota, Varlamov is expected to make the start for Colorado, while Giguere sits on the bench. Giguere will definitely get his fair share of starts in net this shortened season, but Varlamov is clearly the starting netminder.