It’s been 121 days since we’ve been able to see the Colorado Avalanche in game action. That’s 121 days to stew on a Game 7 loss, 121 days to re-shape the lineup, 121 days to get excited about the most talented young group of defenders in the NHL. Well the wait is over.
Tonight, the Avs will open their preseason schedule at home against the Vegas Golden Knights. Coach Jared Bednar plans to use the game as the first step in evaluating a number of young players. There are very few NHLers in the lineup for either team so while it’s great to have NHL hockey back, this one might not feel like the Avalanche you know and love.
The Avalanche will be opening up the preseason with a lot of new faces around. Newcomers like Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Joonas Donskoi are not going to be in the lineup tonight, but Avs fans will get a chance to see them all at home on Thursday night. The new faces are going to use the next two weeks to try and build some chemistry with their new teammates, particularly after camp roster gets trimmed a little more.
Martin Kaut, Bowan Byram and Conor Timmins are all going to be in the lineup tonight for the Avs. Byram and Timmins will be making their NHL preseason debuts while Kaut will give a chance to show how much he’s grown from a year ago. We’re also going to get a look at 2019 draft picks Sasha Mutala, Luka Burzan and Alex Beaucage. If nothing else, tonight will give us a look into the future of the Avalanche.
There are no set lines yet but this is the lineup we are going to see tonight:
Forward: Jayson Megna, Sheldon Dries, Tyson Jost, A.J. Greer, T.J. Tynan, Erik Condra, Luka Burzan, Martin Kaut, Nick Henry, Alex Beaucage, Vladislav Kamenev, Sasha Mutala
Defense: Conor Timmins, Ryan Graves, Jacob MacDonald, Mark Barberio, Bowan Byram, Nicolas Meloche
With so many junior eligible players in the lineup, expect a roster cut down after the game tonight.
Vegas Golden Knights
Tonight will be the second game for Vegas. The Golden Knights opened their preseason with a 6-3 victory against the Arizona Coyotes. Max Pacioretty led the way with a hat trick as he looks to bounce back after two very disappointing seasons.
With a new long-term extension for Mark Stone, Vegas hopes they can build on the success of their first tow seasons in the league. Stone is one of the best wingers in the entire NHL so if he can get comfortable quickly, it will be a huge boost for the Golden Knights who have aspirations of winning the Pacific Division.
Vegas played a lot of their NHL regulars on Sunday night (usually the case with home games in the preseason) so we should expect a lot of youngsters and fringe NHLers in the lineup tonight.
Notable NHLers in the lineup tonight are; Alex Tuch, Nate Schmidt and William Carrier
Between the Pipes
The AHL tandem of Adam Werner and Hunter Miska will be dressing for the Avs tonight. It is expected that each goalie will play half the game.
Dylan Ferguson and Garret Sparks will dress for the Golden Knights.