This edition takes a pause for a moment as this is a good opportunity to focus attention toward the non-official joint affiliation in San Antonio marrying the Colorado Avalanche with the St. Louis Blues and it’s early impacts on the prospects.
The obvious early consequence of having fewer spots in the lineup available in the AHL is that Jean-Christophe Beaudin was sent to the Colorado Eagles to begin his pro career in the ECHL. This is disappointing for several reasons, one that he was the first casualty of the arrangement, that it will be more difficult to watch him and that like it or not prospects with real NHL upside don’t generally get sent to the ECHL and it will impact the perception of them and possibly opportunity down the road.
Examining the move closer, it wasn’t just a numbers game. Fringe AHLer and ECHL star Alex Belzile was left in San Antonio as well as others on AHL contract and those who are depth players. Beaudin needs the playing time and with the Eagles dressing a maximum of nine forwards he will receive that in the ECHL. However, the callup and injury shuffle has already started for San Antonio and Belzile got in the last game as the number two center. Sitting healthy in the AHL usually doesn’t last long and lineup spots are created if the parent organization deems it a priority.
The fact that Beaudin is a cerebral player and needs time to adjust to the pro game is a fair consideration. While the quality of competition in the ECHL is much lower and spending too much time there could lead to bad habits and stagnant development, it is a place where players with skill can get a jump start on their offensive game. Beaudin didn’t score in his first two games with the Eagles but was +2 with 5 SOG combined in the two contests. He spent a lot of time on a line with Brady Shaw and Jake Marchment setting them up. Starting one’s professional career this way isn’t the worst situation but hopefully it’s part of an active plan to eventually progress him through the AHL lineup.
One other aspect that can’t be discounted is the fact that the divorce between the Colorado Avalanche and the San Antonio Rampage isn’t yet complete as both will pretend to keep making it work while eyeing their future partners. It benefits both San Antonio and the Colorado Eagles to put the players in front of their fans who will make up the face of their franchise a year from now. It wouldn’t be a shock to see other young Avalanche prospects spend more time in Colorado than they normally would as the Blues rookies see time in San Antonio over their Avalanche counterparts. It will be a situation worth monitoring closely all season.
Josh Anderson separated his shoulder and will be out 6-8 weeks, which puts his return sometime in December. Nick Henry appears to be getting closer in his recovery from shoulder surgery and is aiming for an early November return. In the AHL, Dominic Toninato sat the weekend out with a minor upper body injury. AJ Greer was returned to San Antonio officially by the Avalanche and could play this weekend.
It’s a broken record at this point but we’ll keep talking about Ty Lewis as long as he keeps scoring. He is now, along with Tyler Steenbergen of Swift Current, in the WHL lead in scoring with 25 points (6G, 19A) in 10 games. He has scored a point in every game he has played in this season and all but one have been multi-point efforts. This weekend Lewis scored with just over five minutes left in the contest against Prince Albert to tie the game in which Brandon went on to win in overtime. Not only is the production nice but he’s playing with a ton of confidence and is dangerous anytime he has the puck.
Not to miss out on accolades of his own, Denis Smirnov was named the Big Ten Conference Second Star of the week after scoring two goals and an assist over the weekend against Minnesota. He also has a three game goal streak going and is tied for second in conference scoring. This is the fifth time in his career Smirnov has earned weekly honors.
Here’s one of Smirnov’s goals from weekend.
Also, requiring mention is Gustav Olhaver‘s first professional goal. Olhaver has been playing for Oskarshamn IK in the second tier Swedish league and currently has a goal and an assist in seven games.
Greyhounds holding position with a 7-2-2 record and Brandon sneaks into a honorable mention slot with a 7-2-1 record of their own.
For Your Viewing Pleasure:
Penn State hosts American International College on Thursday, October 19th at 5pm MT. This game is available on the Big Ten Network and may be available on the ap in certain areas.