Opening Night Avalanche Roster Appears Set

If you scroll down one more story, you'll see that the Avalanche have appeared to make their final cuts before opening night. These last cuts went as we predicted, with Derek Peltier, Chris Durno and Tyler Weiman reassigned to Lake Erie (Durno and Weiman will need to clear waiver, but that isn't likely to be an issue). The Avalanche roster is still at 24, but Tom Preissing is expected to be placed on IR sometime before Thursday. The Avalanche will still have an opportunity to claim someone from waivers as other teams make their cuts, but I don't expect that to happen.

In light of that, it appears that both Matt Duchene and Ryan "Radar" O'Reilly have made the team out of juniors for the time being. Not having seen either player in camp, I have to make the next statement a little blind, but my feeling is that Duchene is here for the season while O'Reilly may just be here for a 9-game taste (a la Wolski). However, I would not at all be surprised to see Radar stick around beyond that. Note that Wolski scored 6 points in his 9 games in 2005 before being returned to Brampton, but that Avalanche squad was a better team; Duchene and Radar may just need to prove that they are capable of competing to be granted a season pass in Denver (the AHL is not an option for either player).

Overall, the Avalanche roster is an interesting mish-mash of experience vs inexperience. On one hand you have a squad of defensemen where 6 of the 8 blueliners have at least 300 NHL games played. On the other, you have a group of 14 forwards where only 2 have played in 300 games and a whopping 8 players have less than 100 career games. Hell, the forward with the 3rd most games played in his career is 27-year-old Marek Svatos. Behind him? Wolski. Yikes.

Of the 24 players currently on the roster, 13 where on last year's opening night roster. The other 11 were elsewhere when the puck dropped last October 9th although several were in the Avalanche system. 5 of the 11 players started last year in Lake Erie. Two others, of course, were in the OHL at this time last year. In all, it's a green team up front (and, to an extent, in net, where probably #1 Craig Anderson has a career NHL high of 31 games, set last year).

This is the place where I'd normally make some predictions about the line combos for opening night but, frankly, I don't have a clue. I'm going to have to sleep on that one a bit, I think.

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