After day four of training camp, the Colorado Avalanche announced that they had trimmed their roster down to 23 players and set their roster for opening night. While there were several names that were no surprise, the Avalanche did keep up a couple of players that might make a couple of heads turn.
The Final Roster
The 23 players that made the cut for the Colorado Avalanche are as follows:
There are two names that should really jump out to Colorado Avalanche fans. The first one that should really turn heads for Avalanche fans is Patrick Bordeleau. Bordeleau is the very definition of a guy that has had to work his tail off every single year just to make a roster for a long time. After being drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2004, Boredeleau jumped between the AHL and ECHL affiliates of various teams before finally finding a home in the Colorado Avalanche system. He has become a huge fan favorite of the Lake Erie Monsters, Colorado’s AHL affiliate, even earning his own fan page on Facebook.
What you get out of Bordeleau is pretty clear. At 6’6″, 225 lbs, Bordeleau is a huge player that is there for a simple reason, to play hard-nosed, physical hockey. When Bordeleau steps out on the ice, get ready to see the glass shake a great amount. He’s improved his skating since last year’s camp, is a hard-worker and a great teammate. He’s going to be the guy that you see stand up for his players when some enforcement is necessary. One of the things that the Avalanche could have used more of last season is a bigger physical presence and Bordeleau brings that in the most literal way possible.
The other player that is a bit less of a surprise than Bordeleau is Tyson Barrie. Barrie did see some time with the Avalanche a season ago and was okay, but he has been having a great year in Lake Erie to this point. The question with Barrie is where he fits in the lineup. The Avalanche already had plenty of defensemen at the end of the previous season and then went out and signed Greg Zanon. Barrie has a lot of talent and a big upside, but if he isn’t going to get a lot of opportunity to play because of the number of the continued log-jam on the blue line, it might be better off for Barrie to go back down to Lake Erie so that he can continue to get the playing time he needs to develop his game.
Lines For Opening Night
Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, P.A. Parenteau.
This group has been together ever since training camp started and has some real potential for the Avalanche. Look for this group to make an impact for the Avalanche.
Jamie McGinn, Paul Stastny, David Jones.
Also together all through training camp, and now surprise why. This line was dynamite for the Avalanche towards the end of last season, hopefully they will be able to carry this over to this season as well.
Steve Downie, John Mitchell, Milan Hejduk.
This portion of the lineup has become a little cloudier with the absence of Ryan O’Reilly. These three have been playing with each other throughout training camp and finding some decent success. Mitchell has proven to have impressive hands from what I’ve seen of him in camp and has found a decent chemistry with both Downie and Hejduk.
Patrick Bordeleau, Mark Olver, Cody McLeod
This would be a very physical line, but I’m not entirely certain how much ice time this group will get. This group could definitely change the pace and add a much more physical and punishing presence than the other lines, but this line could definitely be vulnerable from a defensive standpoint.
Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda
The Avalanche still have yet to find another high-calibre defenseman to play with Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda seems like the best option. They struggled together a season ago, but I think they can find better success this time around.
Ryan O’Byrne and Greg Zanon
Zanon has impressed in camp. This pair would be a very solid, stay-at-home pair that can bring a physical play to the defensive zone. Zanon has also shown some solid puck-moving ability during camp as well, which will be helpful breaking out of the defensive zone.
Ryan Wilson and Shane O’Brien
O’Brien has not had a great camp, but will probably still see action in the lineup as he did have a solid year a season ago. It is quite possible that we can see Tyson Barrie worked into the lineup in this location as well. The defensive pairings are probably the hardest to predict.
Semyon Varlamov will be the top guy in the net, backed up by Jean-Sebastien Giguere. No surprises here.
Matt Hunwick, Tyson Barrie, Chuck Kobasew.
Depending on whether or not anybody is struggling, and Joe Sacco’s tendency to bench people when they aren’t playing well enough, any of these players could end up seeing action at any time.
What could change
All of this depends on one guy, Ryan O’Reilly. The Avalanche are keeping 23 players, which is the maximum allowed. If the Avalanche managed to sign Ryan O’Reilly before opening night there will be somebody else that is sent down. I have to believe that, if O’Reilly were to come back, Patrick Bordeleau would most likely be sent down to balance the roster. Joe Sacco likes having a lot of defensemen available and would likely want to keep the eight defensemen on the roster.
With the roster trimmed, the Avalanche are ready to head out to Minnesota for an opening night dance with the Minnesota Wild. This roster should be a fun one to watch.
I’m a Denver native who has been a fan of the Avalanche since they came to town and a fan of the game before that. I started writing my own blog a couple years ago before moving to Bleacher Report and becoming a Featured Columnist there. You can also find me the Burgundy Brigade Podcast