With the unfortunate news that both JT Compher and Tyson Jost will be on the shelf for a while, the Colorado Avalanche will need to call a forward or two up in advance of their next contest against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, October 24th. Fortunately for the Avs, they have a lengthy four-day break over the weekend. This will allow them to focus on a three in three their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, are playing against the Texas Stars over said weekend in order to evaluate prospects to fill those open roster spots. Just about any forward on NHL contract could be in consideration but we will narrow down the field.
Joe Colborne was actually on Colorado's season-opening roster but had vanished by opening night as he was quietly waived and sent to San Antonio. The Avalanche are likely burying him for the duration of the season but they could decide they need some NHL experience in the lineup and to get a bit of use out of the $2.5 million they are still on the hook for.
Gabriel Bourque is another forward with NHL experience who was on Colorado's season-opening roster in 2016-17 but was demoted and played the most of the season in San Antonio except for one very brief call-up. Bourque was the last forward cut in training camp this year and it's easy to see Colorado considers him depth who could fill a defensive role.
Felix Girard could also fill a defensive role, particularly at center. He has yet to make his NHL debut so the Avalanche probably could not count on him for heavy minutes but is someone who is likely on the radar due to his large role and trust in San Antonio.
Trent Vogelhuber is yet another defensive specialist and he also has yet to see his NHL debut. At 29 years of age he has over 200 games of professional experience and was a key piece of Jared Bednar's Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters team. Trust and familiarity could override the decision here.
Dominic Toninato is a defensive center and although is a rookie is in line for a call-up sometime this season as he chose not to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs and selected the opportunity with the Avalanche. Toninato has barely begun to get his feet wet professionally and a call-up now is probably a bit too early.
Rocco Grimaldi is a name many fans are hoping for on the offensive end of the spectrum. A swift skater and dazzling puck handler, it seems like he could help the Avalanche out in scoring goals. However, his one-dimensional play and troubles in the defensive zone seem to not have him high on Bednar's list.
Andrew Agozzino is another offensive specialist who has played professionally for several years. He played ten games combined with the Avalanche in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons before briefly moving on to the St. Louis Blues. It is possible he could be called on again in a limited role.
AJ Greer, possibly the last remaining piece of the "youth movement" could be an ideal candidate to see a significant portion of NHL time this season. Recovering from a concussion suffered in preseason, Greer finally was cleared and played his first game in San Antonio Friday night. He looked great and contributed a gorgeous primary assist on the night.
Gabriel Bourque and AJ Greer would be my choices to receive the call this weekend. Bourque is trustworthy and could take some of the heavy defensive minutes Compher was seeing but is also not a developing player and could sit out as an extra forward if needed. Greer is also necessary to keep the commitment to the youth movement and culture change going. He brings an attitude and physical element the Avalanche sorely need, especially with Compher's absence, and brings an offensive punch as well. With two rookies now out of the lineup, the Avalanche have the resources available to put the development focus on Greer for the time being.
What's your call, who would you call up?