The beloved Rampage head into the Christmas break with a home & home series vs Texas. As we saw last week, getting some healthy bodies back can have quite a positive effect. That will continue this week along with an old friend of the org rejoining to bolster the blueline.
- Gus Young was acquired in a trade from the Wolves. I like to think that this completes the deal for Hubert Labrie last year. Young was the Avs 7th rounder in 2009 but never signed and has spent the last 2 years in the Sharks org before moving to Chicago last Summer. He’s a solid 6’2 200# D who’s put up 32 points in 138 AHL games. It’s a little odd that he’s “coming back” to the Avs org after what vaguely seemed like an inamicable parting in 2014 but here we are. He’s not going to wow anyone but he should be a clear upgrade on Matt Lashoff, whose days might be numbered.
- Chris Bigras participated in practice at full speed this week and will be in the lineup tonight. With the catastrophe in Denver right now, he’s got a big opportunity to get his play back on track and make a move northward.
- Spencer Martin was returned to the Rampage yesterday and Kent Simpson sent back to the Eagles. I’ll be interested to see how the staff use the goalies now with both Marty and Smitty available for the first time in months. This is more or less Marty’s team now but Smitty got the first win for anyone not named Spencer Saturday night vs Tucson.
- Mat Clark is now practicing with the team and could be ready to join the roster soon
- Thanks to Rampage Nate’s observations at practice the past couple of days, here’s what we have for injuries right now: Vogelhuber (LBI), Elson (LBI), Geertsen (???) out, Clark (concussion) in non-contact phase. St Amant skated Monday but not yesterday, so give him a (???) too. Don’t think he would have played anyway.
Fast Facts: Tucson
TUC 5 - SAR 4 (OT)
Shots: 23-38 (37.7%) Greer had 4, Sislo 3
Special Teams: PP 1/5, PK 3/3
Kent Simpson saved 10/12 (.833), Jeremy Smith stopped 23/26 (.885)
Goals: Bourke (3), Greer 2 (6,7), Nunn (6)
SAR 4 - TUC 2
Shots: 34-23 (59.7%) O’Brien led with 6, Nantel 5
Special Teams: PP 1/4, PK 3/3
Jeremy Smith stopped 21/23 (.913)
Goals: Greer (8), Compher (6), O’Brien (2), Nantel (3)
Strangely enough the Rampage and Stars have only faced each other thrice so far, each club winning once in regulation and the Stars getting an OT win. Only 11 more to go, 2 of them this holiday week. Both teams are currently out of playoff spots, Texas in 5th (13-10-2) and San Antonio in 8th (12-13-2). The Rampage really need to get a move on so 3 points or bust.
Lines/Pairs from Saturday
Whitney - O’Brien - Sislo
Greer - Compher - Grimaldi
Nantel - Bourke - Nunn
Henley - Belzile - Petryk
Duncan - Boikov
Corbett - Lindholm
Lashoff - Jardine
Again thanks to Nate we know the forward lines are the same and the new D pairings should be:
Duncan - Boikov
Young - Corbs
Bigras - Lindy
With 8 healthy D and Clark on his way back someone’s got to go soon. You might guess my vote is for Matt Lashoff and that makes the most sense. Depending on Mason’s injury, someone will be going to the Eagles as well.
I can’t begin to tell you what a difference O’Brien and Compher made in the lineup and in the team’s performance Sat night. Alex Belzile, who centered the top line for quite a few games, is now on the 4th. Other guys pressed into service as C’s are back on the wing where they belong. One bright spot is that Troy Bourke took moving to center and flourished there. He’s having a great season and the improvement & development is massive. Lots of season left for him to earn a callup and a contract for next year.
Wednesday at Texas 8:30pm ET
Thursday vs Texas 8pm ET
All games on Ticket760
Topher’s (and Nate’s) Analytics for the Tucson series
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Tommorrow’s game conflicts with Avs/Leafs, the Rampage game is likely to be more interesting. Tonight’s game is free and clear so stop by and support your prospects.