Peaks & Valleys: 2013-2013 Sneak Peak

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

This is a weekly feature that aims to recap recent player trends and news. Feel free to whine about the judgements. Today, we look at what The Boys™ at training camp have been up to during the extended off-season (Thanks NHL!).

Familiar Faces

Semyon Varlamov
Varly spent the lockout with his hometown club, the rebuilt Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, and played an integral part in one of the best feel-good sports stories you may have missed, as the team that was devastated by tragedy a year ago is near the top of the KHL's West. Varly put together an 8-4 record with 3 "shootouts played," a .946 SV% and 1.74 GAA in 16 games. That was good enough to make him an all-star game starter (which he turned down to come back to Denver). He also suffered a knee injury during December, but has since recovered.


On the lighter side, to give back to his community, he hilariously played sumo suit hockey at some sort of charity circus, per RMNB (with pics/video).

Ryan O'Byrne
In August he kicked off his namesake charity camp, and by the next month he was spending some time coaching for his former BCHL team, the Victoria Grizzlies. (He was not paid for his efforts but did accept donations from the club to his charity.) In late November he moved to warmer climes, signing with the ECHL Florida Everblades, where he put up 2 goals and 9 assists in 16 games to go along with a +3 Jibble Rating.

Shane O'Brien
After re-signing with the Avs this summer for $6 million over 3 years, O'Brien could be seen in a charity game benefiting a local AAA pee-wee squad and the hilariously-named Twin Peaks Cancer Foundation.

Erik Johnson
EJ spent his time in his native Minnesota, working out hard and competitively, as it was characterized by the excellent Michael Russo, with other native Minnesotans and Minnesota Wild players. Not that that doesn't mean he wants to beat them though. Because he totally does. Johnson also helped keep us entertained with one of the better Avs' Twtter accounts out there.

Jan Hejda
Had wrist surgery right after the season ended, which might explain why I can't find any news of him doing anything else. Expected recovery time was 4-6 months, which would put him somewhere between September and November. He told Eurolanche he would wait until November to decide whether he wanted to try to return to Slavia Prague, where he played for six years before jumping over to the NHL. Apparently he decided against it.

Matt Duchene
Boy, Dutchy took a world tour of the hockey world this offseason didn't he? His first stop was in with HC Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League, where he put together 4 goals and 10 assists, including this seriously sick dish to Fabian Brunnstrom (skip to about 1:00 if you're impatient) against MoDo. He made some media waves by ripping everybody's play, his own included. Duchene left at the point of the season when Swedish taxes become obscene (as his contract was designed) for the struggling Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss league. He later helped Team Canada win the Spengler Cup, notching 2 goals and 3 assists in the 4 games.

Jamie McGinn
He elected arbitration, but the Avs would sign him to a 2-year, $3.5 million deal first. He spent time this lockout working with kids' teams in the area and cheering on his brother Brock, and participated in a charity game hosted by former San Jose teammate Logan Couture. Sandie talked to him about it (as well as Ryan O'Reilly, spoiler alert) here.

Chuck Kobasew
He attended an open skate in Scottsdale with, among others, Sidney Crosby, John-Michael Liles, and most of the Phoenix Jamisons late in November. Can't really find anything else. By the way, Dario, the reason he broke your heart by missing camp yesterday turned out to be illness.

Matt Hunwick
He re-signed this summer for 2 years, and $3.2 million, but apart from that the only news I came across involves Marc Savard.

Milan Hejduk
After re-signing for a year at $2 million, the Duke gave up his captaincy to--erm, Labrium Gobbsalog--because he didn't feel like the role he had fallen into "felt right" for a captain.

Paul Stastny
He waited longer than many, but eventually signed a short contract with Red Bull München of the German Duetsche Eishockey Liga. He had 7 goals and 11 "templates" (please let that mean assists, rofl) in 13 games.

Steve Downie
He took part in the RBC Charity Challenge on Team Stamkos, and seems to have been working out with the Gary Roberts outfit. He and his fellow Steve also dropped in on Stamkos's father's men's league in Toronto once a week, for chuckles'n'poops. He took part in the Operation Hat Trick game for Sandy relief as well, again on a team with Stamkos. Something tells me Downie and Stamkos might be pretty decent buds but I can't quite put my finger on what it might be...

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
The Avs extended his contract for an additional $1.5 million through net season over the summer.

Ryan O'Reilly
Hoo boy.

You don't need me to get into his contract situation or his agent situation. So, in case you missed it, here's his recent interview with Eurolanche. He has 5 goals and 5 assists, along with a crazy +7 Jibble Rating, in 10 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL (where he formerly played with one Evgeny Malkin). He spent most of the fall coaching the Clinton, yes, Radars, of the (deep breath) Western Ontario Athletic Association Senior AA Hockey League.

Ryan Wilson
The Avs re-signed him for 3 years and $6.75 million.

David Jones
After re-signing for 1 David Jones Money, which equates to 4 years and $16 million, Jones became a father and promptly dropped out of the media's eye for a while, presumably to spend family time while the lockout allowed him to. He definitely Tweeted a lot about football though.

Cody McLeod
Re-signed for 3 years and $3.45 million. He could later be seen playing in Aaron Asham's charity game to benefit disadvantaged children in his native Manitoba.

Gabriel Landeskog
Meet the youngest Captain in the League. Hejda and Hejduk talked to Eurolanche about his promotion, and Landy himself did here. He then went back to the club in Sweden where he played his junior days, Djurgarden, in a second-tier league (the Swedish system has promotion and relegation like European football clubs do, and apparently Djurgarden is on tough times). He put together 6 goals and 8 assists in 17 games there.

The New Guys

There's not just a plethora of news about the Avs' free agent signings, but here we go:

John Mitchell
After signing with Colorado for 2 years, $2.2 million, he spent his free time having his Twitter hacked by a weight-loss bot. He also talked on his Twitter about doing some work with Childhood Cancer Canada. Mitchell did play a bit of hockey in the RBC Charity Challenge, with former Avs John-Michael Liles, Daniel Winnik, Chris Stewart, and Jay McClement on Team Subban.

P.A. Parenteau
His contract is for $16 million over 4 years, or 1 David Jones Money. After that he doesn't appear in the news much at all. He re-Tweeted Allan Walsh a lot though, playing a vocal part in the NHLPA propaganda machine during the lockout.

Greg Zanon
He signed for 2 years, $4.5 million, and then doesn't show up in the news again until he's at camp with a beard that he must have spent the entire lockout growing. What a hedge that thing is.

Monsters stats

Mike Sgarbossa
The Boss is currently 5th in AHL rookie scoring, only 4 points back of the top guy not called Justin Schultz (who opened up a 12-point lead on everybody). He put together 13 goals and 15 assists in 34 games, while shooting an UNREAL 24.5%.


David Van Der Gulik
In 35 games, he has amassed 11 goals and 12 assists.

Patrick Bordeleau
The hulking dude has put up 2 goals and 5 assists in 29 games, along with his rousing 91 penalty minutes.

Mark Olver
The erm less than hulking dude has added 6 goals and 16 assists in 36 games.

Tyson Barrie
Barrie is 12th in the AHL in assists as of this writing with 21, along with 6 goals, in 36 games. By all accounts, Barrie is rocking it in Cleveland this year.

Stefan Elliott
Elliott on the other hand has not had such luck. In 33 games, the offensive defenseman has only managed 3 goals and 5 assists to go with a -5 Jibble Rating. The beginning of the season was particularly tough on him.

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