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From the Rampage Desk: Let’s Get This Over With

NHL: Preseason-Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The beloved Rampage kill off the final two games of the season this weekend with a home and home vs the Stars. Tonight is the home finale and the year wraps up in Cedar Park tomorrow evening, and not a moment too soon.

Roster/Injury Report

- Justin Hamonic was sent back to the Eagles on Wednesday

- Sergei Boikov and Shawn St Amant were sent to the Eagles yesterday

- Matt Clark was injured against Bakersfield and did not play vs Texas

- Turner Elson has been out with LBI, no news on a return.

- AJ Greer, Sam Henley and Trent Vogelhuber are out for the year

Rumor: Shared Affiliation in 2017-18

Rumors of some AHL affiliation shakeups have been circulating for several months. People in the know are counting on Las Vegas to affiliate with the Chicago Wolves and have full control over the roster, staff, etc. This seems extremely likely and pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point. That leaves the current parent club of Chicago - the St Louis Blues - without an AHL affiliate next year. Their options are to acquire the 31st AHL franchise and set up a team in the next couple of months, which they don’t seem to want to do, take the vacated affiliation of someone else that acquires the 31st franchise, which gets less likely by the day, or share an affiliation with another NHL organization.

A rumor that’s been circulating for a while has the Blues sharing the San Antonio team with the Avalanche.

Just to recap the Avs situation with Spurs Sports & Entertainment, they are finishing the second year of a five year affiliation agreement. They control hockey operations while the Spurs deal with everything else. Unless something has changed, the Avs are under no obligation to put players from another team on the Rampage roster or allow coaches from another franchise to interact with their players.

Delving into speculation now, if there will be a shared affiliation next year then either the Avs want to do this or they are being forced into it. AHL affiliations are pretty fluid and like we saw with Lake Erie when one party is done with them they get dissolved. Given the general opinion of the Avs franchise these days and the Rampage record over the past couple of years it’s not out of the question that SSE wants out. Let’s rank possibilities from palatable to horrifying:

Avs welcome some of the better STL prospects for a year out of the goodness of their hearts

SSE forces the Avs to take some STL prospects with threat of a dissolution of the affiliation agreement as the impetus.

SSE forces the Avs to share players and staff with the Blues under the same threat

SSE dissolves the affiliation agreement and creates a new one with both Avs/Blues

SSE dissolves affiliation agreement, affiliates with the Blues under the condition that the Avs keep some players on the roster for next year

SSE dissolves affiliation agreement, affiliates with the Blues and tells the Avs that they’re on their own

It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, whether the Avs give up any control and whatnot. If option #1 becomes the situation it’s not a bad deal. Colorado is still thin and several good prospects from another system added in could make the Rampage competitive. It’s been many many years since the Avs had a competitive AHL team going back to the days with the Hershey Bears in the early part of this century.

Preview: The End

Wednesday’s game showcased all the things we love to hate about this team. Poor defense, questionable goaltending and getting plowed over in the 3rd period. After gaining a nice shot advantage over the first 40 minutes they managed only 5 SOG in the 3rd and lost 4-3. Apparently Coach Veilleux feels that the only way to score is by playing the top line of Bourque/Smith/Grimaldi along with Eric Gelinas A LOT. This is an incredibly weak defensive setup and usually leads to plenty of odd-man rushes or time spent trapped in the defensive zone. Good luck with that.

One bright spot was Rocco Grimaldi scoring his 30th goal of the year, first Avs prospect to do that since Andrew Agozzino in the final year in Lake Erie.

Lines/Pairs from Weds

Bourque - Smith - Grimaldi
Ranford - Girard - St Amant
Nunn - Bourke - Petryk
Storm - Frazee - Shaw

Bigras - Lindholm
Siemens - Boikov
Young - Gelinas


Scratch: Lots of guys

Thanks to the organization’s commitment to the Eagles we’ll be treated to a really awful lineup this weekend. Outside of a few players there’s little to draw anyone’s interest and make a competitive game happen. About the only thing I’m hoping for is Josh Anderson to make his AHL debut, which seems unlikely based on history and the Avs general incompetence.


Rampage vs Stars Friday 8:30pm ET
Rampage at Stars Saturday 8pm ET

All games on Ticket760

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Look for season reviews in the coming weeks. There hasn’t been much time or reason for me to write about San Antonio lately but there are some points that should be examined. Enjoy!