Back when I first started writing about the Avs AHL affiliate, training camp and pre-season were times to figure out who would play with who and not much more. The standard 5 veterans showed up with the Avs ELCs after getting cut from NHL camp and some ECHLers were brought in as tackling dummies. As was generally the case in Colorado, spots weren’t really in question and everyone’s role had been determined beforehand. Looking back these were hallmarks of an organization with little prospect talent and very thin depth.
Thanks to some gradual progress in drafting/recruiting prowess and the Blues lack of an AHL affiliate this season we are looking at a roster that I dare say will be competitive, both now in camp to determine who plays and later in the regular season.
Pre-Season Game 1
Last night the Rampage and their traditional foes from Austin, the Stars, faced off at the AT&T Center. The good guys got goals from Alex Belzile, Josh Atkinson, Blues prospect Adam Musil and Nolan De Jong in a 4-2 victory. Musil added a couple of assists, as did Nic Meloche.
Ranford – Agozzino – Grimaldi
Musil – Beaudin – Joly
Lukin – Belzile – Ratelle
Storm – Jacobs – Selman
Geertsen – Meloche
Atkinson – Graham
De Jong – Vanelli
Scratches: Husso, Schmaltz, Ausmus, Verpaelst, Shaw, Toninato, Girard, St-Amant(UBI), Vogelhuber, Sergeev, Petryk, Nantel, Marchment, Frazee
Not appearing on the roster: Duncan Siemens, who was waived yesterday but won’t report for a while if not claimed. Another D cut from the Avs, in all likelihood David Warsofsky. Sergei Boikov is out long-term with a damaged shoulder. AJ Greer is still in Colorado with a concussion and someone, probably Gabe Bourque, will need to be re-assigned if the Avs are completely healthy. Joe Cannata is also still with the Avs while Jon Bernier nurses a sore groin. The Blues are also dealing with some injury issues so it’s unclear if they have anyone else to send to San Antonio. We do know defenseman Bobby Butler was re-assigned a couple days ago and hasn’t reported yet.
Pre-Season Game 2
Tonight, the Rampage and Stars get a rematch in Cedar Park at 5pm local time. No word on the lineup as of press time but I’m sure it will be different. The Stars tend to broadcast their pre-season game on the radio but there’s no evidence of that at the moment. Stay tuned, when a link pops up you’ll find it here and on our twitter.
Our good friends at Running With the Herd operate a discord server like we do and will have game day threads tonight and throughout the season. Look for that here
Final Week of Camp
After the game the Silver & Black return to San Antonio for another week of practice ahead of next Saturday’s season opener vs Ontario. Cuts will begin as ECHL camps commence next week and we’ll start to get an idea of what the lineup is going to look like. Which will be nice since at this point I don’t have a clue. It’s a strange feeling, usually by now I can rattle off the depth chart with a high degree of certainty but this year outside of a few key players it’s still pretty murky. I’m looking at players that normally would be locks for guaranteed ice time and wondering if they’ll even make the team. File this under problems you’d like to have I guess. We’ll see very soon if this competition will translate to success on the ice but this could potentially be the first Avs AHL affiliate in the playoffs since 2011.
The Eagles announced late yesterday that there will be a press conference on Monday to announce the team graduating to the AHL next year as the new Avalanche affiliate. Avs GM Joe Sakic and AHL President David Andrews will be there along with the Eagles management. Since this has been one of the worst kept secrets in North American hockey for the last 4 or 5 months I’m not sure anything new will come forth but it will be nice to make it extra-officially official now. More to follow…
Thanks to the Rampage for the highlights and updates last night and to Dan Weiss for a wonderful photo of the AT&T center ice