As the esteemed Mile High Hockey contributor Draft Dodger reports on his other blog, Coach Joel Quenneville has made more cuts to the pre-season Avalanche roster.
Off to the Lake Erie Monsters are Cody McLeod, Jeff Jillson, Johnny Boychuk and overachiever Kyle Cumiskey. The assignment to the minors is no fault of Cumiskey's---he did a great job during training camp and the pre-season games he played---there are just too many d-men competing for too few spots. Cumiskey has youth on his side. We'll see him in the NHL again soon enough.
As for the remaining 27 players, the real battle for spots is among the forwards. Specifically, TJ Hensick and Jaroslav Hlinka. With Brad Richardson still hurt it's clear at least one of them has a spot waiting for him. And considering they're both competing with guys like Mark Rycroft, Scott Parker and Ben Guite for the few remaining openings, it's not hard to imagine both Hensick and Hlinka finding themselves on the big squad at the start of the season.
I'd be surprised if Mark Rycroft, Wyatt Smith and Cody McCormick play much at all in the NHL this year.
There's still one more pre-season game against Phoenix before Coach Q makes his final cuts. Whatever the result, the Avalanche will be a formidable team offensively.
Now defense, that's a whole 'nother topic.