Coach Q made two more cuts on Sunday, sending super youngster TJ Hensick to Lake Erie along with not-so super veteran Mark Rycroft.
Hensiiick was on fire the entire pre-season, but with no lack of offense already present among the Avalanche veterans, the team has the luxury of allowing him to develop his skills even further in the AHL.
Rycroft, on the other hand, doesn't have the same skills to develop. Honestly, he doesn't have any offensive skill whatsoever. He's a grinder, but not a very physical one overall, and not really great at anything. I've been saying he should be in the AHL for some time now.
It seemed obvious to me that Coach Q would ship him to Cleveland, but I guess I'm in short company (bottom):
Demoting Rycroft, 29, came as a bit of a surprise. A veteran of four NHL seasons, the former University of Denver star played in 66 games with the Avalanche last year, when he had six goals and six assists.
I think that about summed up why he was demoted. Twelve points in 66 games---that's not exactly burning up the scoreboard.
So the Avs are set to start the season with 25 players, including Brad Richardson and Jose Theodore, who will be scratched due to lingering injuries or rehab needs. Peter Budaj will assume his rightful place as starting goalie with Tyler Weiman backing him up until Theo returns. Jaroslav Hlinka will be on the second line with Paul Stastny and Andrew Brunette. The defensive pairings appear to be Hannan-Clark, Leopold-Sauer and Liles-Skrastins, with Jeff Finger filling in where necessary.
Looks like the Avalanche is just about ready to go. The regular season can't start soon enough.