After last season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Hockey League (AHL) announced on Wednesday, Dec. 30 that their 2020-21 season will get underway starting on Feb. 5. This is great news for each hockey team as they will have a chance for more of their young depth to develop. The Colorado Avalanche are no exception as they have experienced their set of injuries to start the season.
With the Colorado Eagles season getting underway, the Avs will have more options of depth to turn to than what they have on their taxi squad. A big question that comes up is how will the Avs calling up prospects affect the Eagles this season? Here is a look at where the Colorado Eagles roster stands going into the season.
Avs Recent Moves
The Avs shuffled through their cards on Friday to address their rampant injuries early in the season. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare suffered lower-body damage which will add him to the injured list along with forward Matt Calvert and goaltender Pavel Francouz. Defensemen Devon Toews is also uncertain as the Avs are currently in the middle of a competitive stretch against the Minnesota Wild.
As a result, for the road trip, the Avs added forwards Shane Bowers and Sheldon Dries as well as defenseman Jacob MacDonald to the team’s taxi squad meaning they will likely be unavailable for the Eagles to start the season.
Looking At The Eagles After This Move
Last season, the Eagles finished in second place in the Pacific Division with 72 points, three shy of the first place Tucson Roadrunners before the season ended early due to COVID-19. With several recent prospects helping fulfill the Avs depth, the Eagles have few of their top names returning this season as several others also moved onto other teams. The aforementioned names getting call-ups will only make for an even more inexperienced core, even though a fair amount of the team does have AHL experience with other teams.
However, one of the team’s biggest impact players last season is set to be a part of the roster this season. Centerman T.J. Tynan will have a heavy load to carry, which could really mean his chance to shine and prove his NHL worth. Tynan was second in the AHL in assists last season while leading the Eagles with 47 points. While depth at the centerman position does not appear to be an issue for the Avs at the moment, Tynan should be ready for any injury trouble as his performance in the AHL could make him a strong addition to the Avs scoring depth down the line.
Another player currently who can have an impact down the line is recently acquired goaltender Peyton Jones. The former Penn State netminder had a stellar college career, breaking several school records across the goaltending spectrum while winning a Big Ten record 42 games. As the Avs have needed to utilize goaltender depth, the Eagles will be going with three goaltenders with little AHL experience to begin the season.
While the AHL rapidly changes throughout the season due to everything from draft pick transactions and callups, the Eagles will have several unknown prospect faces to start the season. That could mean a chance for the best ones to truly show their colors. In the case of the Avalanche, it is not a bad situation to have a depleted farm system when you have a whole NHL roster and taxi squad filled with young star-studded potential.
Look for the Avs to utilize their minor league system if more injuries start to pile up late or they decide to rest key players. The need to rest key players might come in late April and early May during an unusually busy stretch to the finish line of this 56-game sprint. Here is what the Eagles roster looks like as most recently announced on Jan. 25. With three teams opting out of the AHL season, this could be an interesting opportunity for a new group of young Avs prospects to make a name for themselves. They could brighten the outlook of the team’s future even more.
Ben Rossi covers the Colorado Avalanche for THW. He can also be found writing and co-hosting the Exit Velo Podcast for the website BackSportsPage. For BackSportsPage he covers hockey, the Oakland Athletics, Major League Baseball news, and other sports stories that stretch beyond the playing field. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Denver where he covered the Denver Pioneers college hockey program as an undergraduate staff writer for the DU Clarion.