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Colorado Avalanche Training Camp Preview


Finally, it's that time of year again. The Colorado Avalanche officially begin training camp tomorrow (players are reporting today for their physicals...and yes, that still reminds me of how much I miss Steve Konowalchuk. Training camp runs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9am to 12 at the South Suburban Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colorado. These sessions are open to the public. Hopefully, we will have some reports available to keep everyone who can't make it in the loop.

On Tuesday at 6:30 MT, the Avalanche will play their annual Burgundy & White intrasquad game at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This will be the first time to see your Avalanche in game situations this year. For some players, it will be the last time; the Avalanche generally make their first cuts after this game (last year it was 15 players)



The Avalanche have six preseason games (see below), usually making a few cuts after each game. Don’t expect a ton of big names in that first game in Dallas, as they usually don’t take many veterans on the preseason road games. One important date is Saturday the 24th of September (right after the 2nd preseason game). That’s when the NHL waiver period starts and certain veterans will need to clear waivers before being reassigned to the minors. This year, that includes potential bubble players like Kyle Cumiskey, Matt Hunwick, Brandon Yip and Ryan Wilson. Although the Avs theoretically could move one of these players down before the waiver period starts, it is highly unlikely that they would do so.

 The Avalanche will need to be down to 23 active players by October 6th.

(home games in bold; all times Mountain and subject to change)

Date                    Opponent                                    Time (MT)
Thu, Sept. 22   at Dallas                                       6:30 p.m.
Fri, Sept. 23     St. Louis                                       7:00 p.m.
Sun, Sept. 25   Dallas                                           6:00 p.m.

Wed, Sept. 28  Los Angeles                               7:00 p.m.
Thu, Sept. 29   at St. Louis                                   6:00 p.m.
Sat, Oct. 1         Los Angeles (in Las Vegas)    7:00 p.m.


Obviously, there are a number of interesting battles for that 23-man roster. Let's break it down by position groups, shall we?


The Avalanche have six goalies in camp. Only two of the six attended camp with the Avs last year, underscoring the transformation this position has undergone.


# Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
1 Semyon Varlamov 23 6'2 209 59 33 NHL / AHL Yes
35 J.S. Giguere 34 6'1 202 525 134 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
30 Cedrick Desjardins 26 6'0 192 2 116 NHL / AHL Yes
31 Trevor Cann 22 5'11 199 0 20 NHL / AHL
64 Calvin Pickard 19 6'1 195 0 0 WHL
60 Sami Aittokallio 19 6'1 174 0 0 Finland

New Arrivals: Varlamov, Giguere and Desjardins were all acquired this summer. Aittokallio is a prospect under contract with the Temporo Ilves in the Finnish SM-Liiga and is attending his first camp.

Familiar Faces: Pickard and Cann are the only two of the six to attend camp last year.  Both were early cuts.

New Digits: Cann wore #30 last year.

Roster Locks: There are no battles here. Barring injury, Varlamov and Giguere will be on the Avs' opening night roster.

In the Mix: If something happens to Varly or Giggy, Desjardins would slide in to a roster spot.

Key Battles: None

Those Who Don't Make It Will...: Desjardins and Cann will be in Lake Erie. Pickard and Aittokallio are ineligible to play in the AHL this year; Pickard will return to Seattle of the WHL (coached by Steve Konowalchuk) while Aittokallio will head back to Finland to back up Vesa Toskala.



With Kyle Cumiskey recently re-signed, the Avalanche will have 20 defensemen in camp, 10 of them being players who attended camp last year. I broke them up into two groups - lefties (13) and righties (7). And garsh, check out the size on these guys!



# Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
8 Jan Hejda 33 6'4 237 L 341 5 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
27 Kyle Quincey 26 6'2 207 L 185 201 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
5 Shane O'Brien 28 6'3 230 L 379 214 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
44 Ryan Wilson 24 6'1 207 L 128 71 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
22 Matt Hunwick 26 5'11 190 L 215 58 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
10 Kyle Cumiskey 26 5'10 185 L 132 96 NHL / AHL Yes
24 Cameron Gaunce 21 6'1 203 L 11 61 NHL / AHL
2 Joel Chouinard 21 6'1 186 L 0 35 NHL / AHL
4 David Liffiton 27 6'2 210 L 7 266 NHL / AHL Yes
25 Duncan Siemens 18 6'3 200 L 0 0 WHL
63 Stephen Silas 19 6'1 183 L 0 0 OHL
61 Gabriel Beaupre 18 6'2 195 L 0 0 QMJHL
59 Dillon Donnelly 18 6'2 193 L 0 0 QMJHL
# Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
6 Erik Johnson 23 6'4 232 R 225 1 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
3 Ryan O'Byrne 27 6'5 234 R 192 118 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
46 Stefan Elliott 20 6'1 190 R 0 0 NHL / AHL
36 Jonas Holos 24 5'11 196 R 39 17 NHL / AHL
41 Tyson Barrie 20 5'10 190 R 0 0 NHL / AHL
57 Mike Brennan 25 6'0 205 R 0 208 AHL
62 Troy Rutkowski 19 6'2 208 R 0 0 WHL


New Faces: Jan Hejda and Shane O'Brien were both acquired this summer and become the two most experienced players on the blueline. Duncan Siemens, Gabriel Beaupre and Dillon Donnelly were drafted this summer and Mike Brennan was signed to an AHL (only) contract this summer. Meanwhile, it's the first Avalanche camp for Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson, Ryan O'Byrne and Matt Hunwick.

Familiar Faces: The 10 players who were in camp last year are Joel Chouinard, Cameron Gaunce, David Liffiton, Jonas Holos, Kyle Cumiskey, Kyle Quincey, Ryan Wilson, Stefan Elliott, Troy Rukowski and Stephen Silas. Of those, Holos, Quincey, Cumiskey and Wilson made the team out of camp. The other three D to make the team out of camp were Scott Hannan, John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote.

New Digits: Gaunce wore #3 in camp last year and #43 during his call-up. He'll wear #24 this year. Jonas Holos wore #6 last fall, but change it to #36 after the Erik Johnson trade. Stefan Elliott is moving from #50 to #46. David Liffiton wore #5 last year. With Shane O'Brien taking that, Liffiton is grabbing Liles' still-warm #4. Matt Hunwick wasn't in camp last year, but he is changing from #48 to #22.

Roster Locks: The Avalanche will keep either 7 or 8 defensemen. Figure at least 5 of those to be locked up by Hejda, Quincey, O'Brien, Johnson and O'Byrne.

In the Mix: Ryan Wilson, Matt Hunwick, Kyle Cumiskey, Cameron Gaunce, Stefan Elliott, Jonas Holos and Tyson Barrie could all be considered in the mix for the final 2 or 3 roster spots. Wilson and Hunwick would seem to be the favorites going in, but their spots are far from certain (although being on 1-way deals might help their cause a bit).

Key Battles: Because of their similar skillsets, Hunwick and Cumiskey could be battling for the same spot. Ditto for Wilson and Gaunce and Elliott and Barrie.

Players to Watch: Elliott, Barrie and Siemens.

Those Who Don’t Make It Will…: All of the "In the Mix" players would land in Lake Erie, although Hunwick, Cumiskey and Wilson would need to clear waivers. David Liffiton and Mike Brennan would both be considered super longshots to make the team; expect them in Lake Erie. Siemens, Silas, Beaupre, Donnelly and Rutkowski are all too young for the AHL and will go back to their junior teams.



There have been less turnover here than the other two positions. The Avalanche have 29 forwards in camp, 21 of whom were in camp with the Avs last year. They are loosely broken down into their 3 positions.


# Left Wing Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
88 Peter Mueller 23 6'2 204 R 222 0 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
39 T.J. Galiardi 23 6'2 190 L 116 67 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
92 Gabriel Landeskog 18 6'1 204 L 0 0 NHL / OHL
28 Joakim Lindstrom 28 6'0 187 L 81 200 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
55 Cody McLeod 27 6'2 210 L 273 133 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
29 Ryan Stoa 24 6'3 200 L 37 102 NHL / AHL
40 Mark Olver 23 5'10 170 L 18 64 NHL / AHL
58 Patrick Bordeleau 25 6'6 225 L 0 147 NHL / AHL Yes
43 Justin Mercier 24 5'11 190 L 9 144 NHL / AHL
42 Brad Malone 22 6'2 207 L 0 0 NHL / AHL
11 Patrick Rissmiller 33 6'4 225 L 192 474 NHL / AHL Yes
15 Zach Cohen 24 6'3 208 L 0 73 NHL / AHL
# Center Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
26 Paul Stastny 25 6'0 205 348 0 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
9 Matt Duchene 20 5'11 200 L 161 0 NHL / AHL Yes
37 Ryan O'Reilly 20 6'0 200 L 155 0 NHL / AHL Yes
16 Jay McClement 28 6'1 205 L 473 159 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
38 Joey Hishon 20 5'10 170 L 0 0 NHL / AHL
14 Mike Carman 23 6'0 180 L 0 79 NHL / AHL
47 Evan Brophey 25 6'2 199 L 1 299 NHL / AHL Yes
67 Garrett Muers 18 5'11 169 R 0 0 OHL
# Right Wing Age Ht Wt NHL Exp AHL Exp 2011? Waivers? 1-way?
23 Milan Hejduk 35 6'0 190 R 910 0 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
54 David Jones 27 6'2 210 R 167 45 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
34 Dan Winnik 26 6'2 210 L 282 78 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
17 Chuck Kobasew 29 6'0 190 R 473 127 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
12 Kevin Porter 25 6'0 190 L 128 98 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
18 Brandon Yip 26 6'1 195 R 109 6 NHL / AHL Yes Yes
20 Greg Mauldin 29 5'11 195 R 36 406 NHL / AHL Yes
7 David van der Gulik 28 5'10 173 L 12 345 NHL / AHL Yes
45 Luke Walker 21 6'1 174 R 0 75 NHL / AHL


New Faces: The big new addition here is #2 overall pick Gabriel Landeskog. The Avs have also added a a couple of free agents in Joakim Lindstrom and Chuck Kobasew as well as some minor leaguers in Evan Brophey and Patrick Rismiller. Garret Meurs was drafted this summer as well. It's the first Avalanche camp for Brad Malone and Jay McClement.

Familiar Faces: As mentioned above, 21 forwards this year are returning campers: Bordeleau, Carman, Cohen, Duchene, Galiardi, Hejduk, Hishon *, Jones, Mauldin, McLeod, Mercier, Mueller, O'Reilly, Olver, Porter, Stastny, Stoa, van der Gulik, Walker, Winnik and Yip. Hishon gets the asterisk as he did not attend rookie camp due to ongoing concussion issues. *sadface*

New Digits: Only one change here. Justin Mercier is wearing #43 last year, as Jay McClement has since taken #16.

Roster Locks: The Avalanche will have room for 13 or 14 healthy fowards on their opening night roster. It's a fairly safe bet to call the following players locks: Peter Mueller, T.J. Galiardi, Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, Jay McClement, Milan Hejduk, David Jones, Dan Winnik and Chuck Kobasew. That's 11 players right there.

In the Mix: That means there will be a fierce battle for for the final 2 or 3 spots (again, assuming everyone is healthy). The list of of "bubble" players is long and includes some regulars from last year: Joakim Lindstrom, Cody McLeod, Ryan Stoa, Patrick Bordeleau, Mark Olver, Brad Malone, Kevin Porter, Brandon Yip and Greg Mauldin. Several of those players would be exposed to waivers if they don't make the team and four - McLeod, Lindstrom, Yip and Porter - are on 1-way deals (which means they make the same salary whether they play in the AHL or NHL). If I had to handicap right now, McLeod, Lindstrom and Porter would have a spot...but you never know how things will shake out.

Key Battles: Both Patrick "Bordello of Blood" and Brad Malone could push Cody McLeod for the tough guy role. Olver and Yip both made the team out of camp last year and might push someone out with a strong camp. Ditto for Ryan Stoa who was a late cut the last two years and could be facing a make-or-break year

Players to Watch: Malone, Bordeleau, Stoa, Yip, Olver

Those Who Don’t Make It Will…: While the Avalanche have a ton of defensemen going back to junior, Garret Muers will likely be the only forward to do so. Gabriel Landeskog is a heavy favorite to make the team but if he falters he too would be OHL  bound; he is too young to play in the AHL. Everyone else - including Joey Hishon - is either NHL or AHL with several risking a waiver exposure if they don't make the Avs' roster.


Overall, this is shaping up to be a very interesting camp. It's our first chance to see a number of new additions in action as well as an opportunity to see a few players returning from significant injuries (Mueller, Quincey, Cumiskey). Every year there are roster battles, but it seems like this year we have some especially interesting battles. By my count, there are about 18 roster locks with at least 16 players having a legitimate shot to challenge for the final 5 spots (and, honestly, that's a conservative number). Although this is still a very young team (just 4 players over 30 in camp), there could be some fairly big names to miss the cut. Stay tuned, because it's going to be a wild ride.