After the Avalanche rookies emerged victorious during the 2016 rookie tournament in a round-robin event with the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, the three teams have added a fourth group of young stars to get fans ready for the new season.
This August, the Arizona Coyotes rookies join the Avalanche, Sharks, and Ducks, looking to show off what’s been dubbed one of the strongest prospect groups in the league.
The Avalanche didn’t get quite the start they wanted in Game 1, taking home a tough 7-4 loss to the baby Sharks on Saturday.
Now, though, they’ll look to turn that around in Game 2, facing off against Arizona’s youngest names and faces in an attempt to see one of the two teams finally put a win on the board.
Colorado Avalanche Roster:
Arizona Coyotes Roster:
The Coyotes iced this lineup during their game against the Ducks on Saturday:
Truchon-Viel - Verbeek - Marsh
The Coyotes have confirmed that forward Lane Pederson and defenseman Cam Dineen will appear in the lineup as well, although the team has yet to confirm how that will affect the roster.
The team has confirmed that Hunter Miska will be starting in net tonight.
Who to watch:
The two best Avalanche players by and away in Game 1 were Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher. That’s far from surprising, with both looking at opening day lineup spots for the struggling Central Division club.
Don’t sleep on some of Colorado’s defenseman, though, either. The little Avalanche allowed a whopping seven goals in Game 1 this weekend - but neither Nicolas Meloche nor 2014 fifth-round pick Anton Lindholm were on the ice for a single one. If they can keep up their impressive showing from the opening game, things could be tough for the baby ‘Yotes.
Looking at the Arizona side, only one player managed to find the back of the net against the Ducks in Game 1, which was eerily reminiscent of the team’s rookie struggles last preseason as well. Look for the lone goal scorer to fight hard to make an impact, though; Nick Merkley, who notched Arizona’s lone tally in Game 1, needs to overcome an injury-plagued set of post-draft years in order to get a serious look from Arizona this fall.
The top line for Arizona didn’t get much done during Game 1, although look for that to potentially change. Conor Garland struggled in his first pro season and will look to make an impact on his coaches as well, while Strome badly needs to prove he deserves NHL ice time over linemate Clayton Keller as the team’s 2015 third overall pick. He fell flat out of the gate last fall, and could use that (and Game 1’s poor outcome) as a strong motivator against Colorado as the two teams duel it out.
Finally, keep an eye on Coyotes goaltender Hunter Miska. After Adin Hill got the start in Game 1, Miska - who went pro out of the NCAA this summer - is looking to earn a spot on the AHL depth chart this year. The baby Avalanche outshot the Sharks by a whopping 36-23 in Game 1, and another showing like that could truly test Miska’s ability to keep his team in the game.
How to Watch:
The game will be streaming live here.
The two teams will face off at 7:00 PM PST in San Jose.