Mixed Bag for Avs Prospects in Showcase Opener

There’s little point in overanalyzing a prospect tournament game, like Coach Eric Veilleux mentioned post-match the focus here is getting the players ready for main camp next week. It’s process heavy with results being secondary to learning the systems and tactics that the Avs want the youngsters to show when they integrate with the vets.

At the end the scoreboard showed 7-4 in favor of the Sharks but anyone watching the game saw that the Avs dominated time in the offensive zone and held the shot advantage 36-23. The goaltending was a little shaky, especially in the 2nd half when Amateur Try-Out Francis Leclerc relieved Spencer Martin, but you’ll have that. The important thing to take from this is that there were plenty of scoring chances of various types, transition, set offense, power play, etc, and the Sharks barely had the puck.

Lines

Lewis – Kerfoot – Compher
Greer – Jost – St-Amant
A mix in the bottom 6

Julien Nantel unfortunately had to leave early in the game with some sort of injury but that opened the door for Brandon Wheat Kings LW Ty Lewis to step in on the top line. He didn’t look out of place at all and for my money he’s been the best ATO in the group since Development Camp in July. I see a contract of some sort in his future. This was our first look at Alexander Kerfoot and he had a very promising game. Didn’t play small, was solid at both ends of the ice and definitely has scoring skills. The Jost line was buzzing all night but didn’t manage to get on the scoreboard, they will. Shawn St-Amant had an impressive game setting up a couple of the Avs goals. The bottom 6 was pretty fluid once Nantel left the game, with some of the top 6 guys rotating in. Each player looked solid at various times, Olhaver & Roy both scored thanks to hard work by St-Amant. Nice to see some depth scoring for a change.

Pairs

Lindholm – Meloche
Bigras – Mironov
Anderson – Timmins

Lindy and Meloche played very well, as far as anyone can tell they were not on the ice for any of the 7 goals against. Meloche added a snipe from the top of the left circle for the Avs 2nd tally and Lindholm was his usual self, physical, positionally sound and solid with breakout passes. Bigras and Mironov were inconsistent. Mironov was about what I expected except for not playing as physical as he has in the past. Chalk it up to being tentative in his first Avs/North American game. Bigras set up a couple of goals and was solid in the o-zone but had a few sloppy plays defensively. Anderson & Timmins looked like two really young junior players, which they are, and it’s fair to say they struggled.

Gardiens

Spencer Martin played the first half of the game, looked a little rusty at first but started coming on strong right before he was lifted. Francis Leclerc wasn’t very effective and like the other teenagers looked a bit over his head. We don’t have exact numbers but he probably only stopped half the shots he faced.

Scratches

With 28 guys on the trip, 8 had to sit out game 1:
Forwards: J-C Beaudin, Brady Shaw, Sami Moilanen
Defense: Sergei Boikov, Tom Gregoire, Gage Ausmus, Nolan De Jong
Goalie: Petr Kvaca

/ / / / / /

Overall it was a solid start, I liked what I saw systematically for the most part. The players challenging for NHL spots looked on pace to do just that and the younger players looked young. That pretty much highlights the fact that they had one official practice before taking the ice as a team last night. As the tourney progresses we hope to see chemistry continue to build and everyone more comfortable playing competitive hockey after many months off. Next game will be Monday night at 10pm ET/8pm MT, be there or be square.

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