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Twitter Tuesday: Week One without hockey

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Can’t watch it, but at least we can talk about, right?

Colorado Avalanche vs Vegas Golden Knights pre-season
Nick Henry taking an elbow to the face is how we all feel right now...
Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

How’s everyone doing out there?

This is tough. There’s no other way around it. I — like most everyone on planet earth — did not think we’d live in a world where there are no sports, a global recession, quarantined in our own homes, etc. It feels as if doomsday is upon us, yes, but we’re going to be fine.

Sure, the Avalanche is gone and there is no hockey to watch anywhere, but that doesn’t have to stop us from at least talking about, right?

Right?

Nick Henry has always been an interesting case for the Colorado Avalanche, and to a larger degree, the Colorado Eagles. He’s a top-100 pick (2017 4th round, 94th overall), but he’s in that weird area of the draft where GMs either hit that homerun with a later-round steal, or they’ll never make the big league.

Henry did, however, just get his three-year, entry-level contract at the tailend of his last season. That said, Henry will be given plenty of time (or at least two more years) to prove himself in the American Hockey League. And he may need every year of that in terms of his development.

Henry was a star in the 2018 Memorial Cup run, as he and his Regina Pats made it to the finals before falling to Acadie-Bathurst. Henry was third in the Memorial Cup playoff scoring, notching five goals and seven points in five games. The following season, he returned to Regina and was named its assistant captain but was later traded to Lethbridge a couple months into the 2018-19 campaign. He finished the year with 94 points (29 goals) in 69 games, good for sixth in WHL scoring last season. He then made is AHL debut with the Eagles at the tailend of last season, appearing in five total games (two in the playoffs) with AHL Colorado.

Now this season, Henry is in his first full year as an Avs prospect. His three goals and nine points across 42 games this year is a bit underwhelming, and he’s struggled to earn a full-time role in Colorado this year, despite a number of injuries and Eagles call-ups to the NHL. And now the year may be over for the AHL and NHL, so is Henry’s. While his scoring prowess hasn’t translated in the AHL quite yet, I do like some aspects of his game. Henry is powerful, physical skater, kind of in the same way as how Martin Kaut plays.

As for next season, it’s hard to say if he’s earned more minutes based on his performance this year. It will be wholly dependent on who the Eagles bring back. There are a lot of expiring contracts for some Eagles veterans — i.e., A.J. Greer, T.J. Tynan, Jayson Megna, Erik Condra, among others — and if some of those guys aren’t extended, I’d expect Henry to get more of a chance next season to take a bigger step forward in his development.

I’m planning on doing a full-length story on this that is currently in the works, but I’ll highlight some of the main points for now.

Here’s who we know will be exempt from the upcoming expansion draft:

Henry, Kaut, Shane Bowers, Conor Timmins, Bowen Byram, Adam Werner, Erik Johnson (no-movement clause).

Joe Sakic and the Avs can only protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie OR they can opt to protect eight total skaters (defense included) and one goalie. And due to a surplus of young talent, I predict the Avs will go for the seven forwards, three D-men look.

Protected Goaltender: To meet the requirements of an exposed goalie, he must be under contract through the 2021-22 season. Right now, that makes Pavel Francouz the only goaltender who the Avs can expose. So for now, we have to say him, unless the Avs re-sign Philipp Grubauer (or another goalie) in the upcoming offseason.

Protected Defensemen: Since EJ is on a no-movement clause, he has to be protect. I think that may have to get waived because Ryan Graves could be exposed. That leaves Cale Makar and Sam Girard as the other two you’d protect, and if EJ waives his clause for the betterment of the team — which I think he does — Ryan Graves is protected.

Protected Forwards: Three of the seven allotted forwards are pretty easy picks. That is Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabe Landeskog. J.T. Compher and Joonas Donskoi are currently signed through 2023 and could be two other guys Sakic might look to protect. That leaves two forwards, and it’s anyone’s guess. I’m going with Andre Burakovsky and Val Nichushkin.

Projected Notable Exposed Players: Tyson Jost, Logan O’Connor, Nazem Kadri, Vlad Kamenev, EJ, among others.

To Seattle: Tyson Jost

Interested to see who you all think is heading to Seattle...

I’m not sure it will get that rough for our well-paid friends in the NHL, but let’s play devil’s advocate.

Nathan MacKinnon would go join his buddy Sidney Crosby at their local hometown Tim Horton’s in Nova Scotia as baristas. Since Ryan Graves is from around there, too, I’d expect him to follow suit.

Erik Johnson would take up a full-time role as a horse breeder. Ian Cole strikes me as a guy who would work at like a Grease Monkey or a Brakes Plus or something. Sam Girard would offer opera lessons from his home. Nikita Zadorov would become a full-time model, for sure.

In all likelihood, I’d think most players would take up caddying or golf course attendant, you know, for the fact that they’d get free golf.


Be well, friends...

Anymore questions, comments or concerns? Direct those to @0ffScottFree on Twitter or email him at scottyamacdonald@gmail.com.