As expected, the Avalanche made a slew of roster moves following the St Louis game. However, I can't say that the cuts went exactly as expected. All 10 players reassigned are headed to Lake Erie. Let's go throw them by position...
Tyler Weiman did not get reassigned following Friday's game. I thought that move might have been made not because he got lit up on Friday (6 goals allowed) but because he now must clear waivers to go to Lake Erie (the waiver period begins today). I suppose with so many teams set at this position (paging Garth Snow...), I suppose the risk of losing Weiman to waivers is small, but I still thought he might go down before the deadline to make sure he didn't get claimed. Craig Anderson, Peter Budaj and Weiman are the three goalies remaining in camp. Anderson and Weiman have each started one preseason game and played the whole way. I imagine we'll see Peter Budaj on Sunday.
The Avalanche reassigned Brian Fahey, Kevin Montgomery, Wes O'Neill and Brett Skinner to the Monsters. Certainly, no surprises there. But, again, the surprise in my eyes is that Kyle Cumiskey did not get demoted and now must clear waivers if he gets sent to Lake Erie going forward. Does that mean he makes the team? Right now, the Avalanche have 10 defensemen in camp, including Cumiskey. Brett Clark, Scott Hannan, Adam Foote, Kyle Quincey, John-Michael Liles, Ruslan Salei and Tom Preissing figure to be locks at this point with Cumiskey, Ryan Wilson and Derek Peltier still kicking around. Injuries could be a factor here - Tom Preissing hasn't played yet due to a "minor" knee injury, but Ruslan Salei has missed both preseason games as well as the Burgundy and White game. I'm not going to go all grassy knoll on the Salei thing yet, but if he's not on the ice on Sunday...
Wilson and Peltier can both be sent down without needing to clear waivers.
Yes, all eyes are on Matt Duchene who scored a goal and an assist last night against the Blues. But there is one other junior player still in camp: Ryan O'Reilly. It's obvious that the Avalanche want to give both players a good look, as the pair as they've appeared in both preseason games. At this point, you have to like Duchene's odds of making the team. It's a stretch to say the same for Radar at this point, but could he be kept around for a couple of regular season games before going back to Erie (that's OHL, not AHL)?
The Avalanche still have 16 forwards left after cutting Philippe Dupuis, Darren Haydar (bummer), Justin Mercier, Marty Sertich, Brian Willsie and Brandon Yip. We've talked before about the 10 forwards who I figure are in: Stastny, Hejduk, Wolski, Svatos, Tucker, Jones, Stewart, Hensick, Koci and McLeod. I think we can probably add Duchene to that, leaving 2 or 3 open spots. Those still in the mix for those final few spots are O'Reilly, Matt Hendricks, Chris Durno, Ryan Stoa and T.J. Galiardi. Durno and Hendricks will need to clear waivers now, but the risk of losing either should be considered minimal.
The Avalanche need a 4th center (behind Stastny, Duchene and Hensick) and with the demotion of Willsie and Dupuis it would seem to help the chances of Galiardi and Hendricks immensely as both have played center in the preseason. Stoa is still in the mix as well, but I'll be surprised if Durno makes the squad.