The beloved Rampage finish off the disastrous Rodeo Road Trip this weekend with a pair of games in Winnipeg. Since winning their last home game more than 3 weeks ago they’ve gone 0-6-1 and haven’t looked good doing it.
- Turner Elson & Jim O’Brien have been skating in non-contact jerseys this week. O’Brien should be ready tonight and Elson is about 2 weeks out. Sam Henley was apparently injured somehow (I vaguely remember this from last game) but won’t miss any time.
- Mat Clark has been used off and on, don’t know if that’s injury related or what
- Gus Young isn’t skating yet, out with an undisclosed injury
- Trent Vogelhuber is out for the season and Nathan Lieuwen is still a mystery
The Avs still haven’t made any moves since acquiring Felix Girard for Cody McLeod 6 weeks ago. The company line remains that they intend to clear out vets on expiring contracts and call up some of our favorite Rampage players in their stead. I think conservatively we see a defenseman and a forward moved by Wednesday. I’d love to see more but who knows at this point.
As far as who gets called up, that’s also a mystery. Just to throw out some procedural rules, the Avs as of today have no open spots on the roster, although they could if Zadorov was put on IR. Until the deadline (3pmET Wednesday) they can only keep 23 healthy players. After that the roster is open but they are limited to 4 non-emergency moves. Let’s say they want to go hog wild on callups (hint: they don’t) they can call up one guy for Z and one for anyone they trade without an NHLer coming back. Post-deadline they can call up any 4 they like in March and April.
In the past the Avs have usually made a few AHL moves before the deadline, shipping out guys they don’t intend to re-sign in the summer for other guys that weren’t going to be re-signed by their teams in the summer. Potential candidates:
UFA: Bourque, O’Brien, Clark, Whitney, Sislo. Jeremy Smith too but that’s not an option.
RFA: Gelinas, Grimaldi, Siemens, Girard, Bourke, Corbett, Henley, Elson
The 2 most tempting names are Bourque & Grimaldi. Hard to say if either are in the org’s long-term plans or even if they are candidates for callups this season, even tho’ they’ve earned them. Both guys would have pretty decent value on the market, especially Grimaldi since he’s RFA. Whit & Sislo might get some interest from clubs with playoff bound AHL teams for some depth scoring. We can hope.
The Moose are struggling more than the Rampage, if that’s imaginable. They have one win in their last 10 and have lost 5 straight. San Antonio has 2 more wins on the season and is only -34 in goal differential as opposed to the Moose’s -38. Good news for both teams, someone has to win. These two squads got together about a month ago at the AT&T Center and split the weekend.
Lines from last weekend:
Bourque - Girard - Grimaldi
Greer - Bourke - Nunn
Whitney - Compher - Sislo
Henley - Nantel - Petryk
Bigras - Gelinas
Siemens - Geertsen
Boikov - Lindholm
Scratch: Corbett, Clark
Veilleux has had the line blender going constantly over past couple of weeks. Nothing’s worked. The Girard line, once everyone figured out that it was the 1st and not the 3rd, hasn’t been effective on the trip. The 4th has been alright but there’s only so much you can do with it. The middle two lines have nothing going for them, no chemistry, no effectiveness in either zone and that just makes it easier for opponents to shut down Girard, Grimaldi and Bourque. #1 priority should be to restore Greer & Compher’s scoring, whether that’s by putting them back together or whatever. I don’t know what you can do with Whit and Sislo now, they haven’t fit in that great most of the season and it’s a little late for them to find whatever they’ve been missing. No one seems to be able to carry them.
The defense has bigger problems. Finding a spot for Eric Gelinas has been problematic and he somehow makes all 5 other guys worse even when he’s not on the ice. If Mat Clark is healthy I’d say stick those two together and hope Gelinas does less damage that way. Boikov has been regressing lately and might benefit from being re-paired with Siemens then try Bigras/Lindholm again and perhaps it works better this time. The staff has tried about everything possible with this group with very inconsistent results. I’m sure it’s very frustrating.
Saturday vs Manitoba 8pmET
Sunday vs Manitoba 3pmET
All games on Ticket760
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Avs game starts around 2nd intermission tonight but tomorrow afternoon’s contest runs unopposed. Stop by and say hi.