The Avs have done most of their summer work on the Eagles roster. A couple of restricted free agents have yet to sign and they’re still on the lookout for a goalie but the core is in place. The next wave of signings will come from camp tryouts in September. Let’s take a look at the roster as it stands now by position.
signed to NHL contracts:
Center: TJ Tynan, Shane Bowers, Igor Shvyrev, Josh Dickinson
RW: Jayson Megna, Logan O’Connor, Nick Henry
LW: Martin Kaut, Ty Lewis, Travis Barron
unsigned RFAs: Sheldon Dries (F), AJ Greer (LW)
needs: All-around depth
The big acquisition here is TJ Tynan who put up 71 points with the Wolves last year. He’s a slight upgrade on Agozzino, who just signed with Wilkes-Barre, as a #1 center. Jayson Megna is a veteran 2-way forward that should block young players like Kaut and Bowers from getting NHL time in the early season. Bowers & Henry will make their debuts as professionals and the rest are returning players. Dries fizzled pretty hard after spending half the season in Denver and it’s a slight surprise the Avs qualified him. AJ Greer was qualified with no arbitration rights, his future is a little unclear after his mishap on Sunday morning.
Word on the street is that Michael Joly and the Eagles were working on a contract to bring him back but nothing solid there yet. Colorado retained Brandon Saigeon’s rights for another year but still haven’t signed him. There’s obviously some internal battle going on but no one seems to know why. He’s a good player that could add scoring and depth, just like last year, but can’t get a contract offer. I’m sure that some sort of clown/facepuncher will be added at some point. Beyond that we’ll see a bunch of Tim McGauley types, maybe even Tim McGauley, to be tweeners with Utah.
signed to NHL contracts: Jacob MacDonald, Mark Alt, Dan Renouf, Nic Meloche, Josh Anderson
injured: Conor Timmins
unsigned RFAs: Anton Lindholm, Sergei Boikov
signed to AHL contracts: Peter Tischke, Sasha Larocque
The first thing that jumps out at you is that’s a whole lot of defensemen, especially considering that the Avs have 9 D’s signed right now. With everyone healthy they could stock all three levels of the org right now with one guy to spare. Everyone isn’t healthy though, Erik Johnson might miss some time early in the year, Ian Cole is out until December at least and Conor Timmins hasn’t been cleared yet. Bringing back either of Lindholm or Boikov was pointless, re-signing both does more harm than good. It’s possible that they are both considering playing in Europe this season and the Avs are just retaining their rights but that’s not something that happens very often.
Jacob MacDonald was acquired from Florida for Dom Toninato’s rights and slots right into the Warsofsky role. He was an All-Star in Binghamton a couple years ago and has 42G/80A in 182 career AHL games. Renouf is sort of a 2-way puck mover and doubled his production moving from Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup champ Checkers last year. Tischke and Larocque practiced with the Eagles at the end of last year but never played. They looked good in the recent 3v3 game at Avs Dev Camp, and they should since they were 5-6 years older than everyone else. The rest are guys we know, not sure what the plan is with Josh Anderson but he’s probably slated for some more seasoning to begin the year.
The needs here are to get rid of some guys rather than to add.
signed to NHL contract: Adam Werner
signed to AHL contract: Hunter Miska
needs: a 3rd NHL goalie/AHL tandem guy
At first glance this seems fine, Werner is a guy they want to fast-track after a very solid year in the SHL. He should start as much as he can handle, 30-40 games as a target. Miska is a youngish vet goalie let’s say and a bit of a downgrade on Spencer Martin. Goalie coach Ryan Bach was able to work a little magic on Marty last season so hopefully he can do the same with Miska.
The problem here is that this setup puts Werner in position to be the Avs backup if one of their goalies gets injured and that’s not something he’s ready for. Joe Sakic said in a conference call last week that they’re still shopping around for someone that could handle playing in the NHL if all hell breaks loose. There aren’t many good choices left so who knows how that works out. Once that does happen they also have to figure out what to do with one of the 3 guys. Maybe we have a Hammond situation with a 3rd goalie playing for another org, which is probably the best way to handle it. Otherwise they either keep all 3 in Loveland or ship one to Utah. I think it would be extremely unproductive to have your #1 goalie prospect in the ECHL so as long as Werner stays with the Eagles I’m fine with anything else.
Depth Chart Snapshot
This is mostly racked on experience and I have no way of knowing what the lines are likely to be because I doubt Coach Cronin does either so don’t freak out.
The forwards look great right now but a couple of those guys will sit once they get Joly and the facepuncher hooked up. The defense needs trimming and more than likely a D from the Avs will be added from the trio of Calle Rosen, Ryan Graves and Mark Barberio. Alt, MacDonald and Renouf are the only locks right now, the rest is fluid. The goalie portion of the depth chart will be clear once we get the final guy signed, whoever that may be.
That should put the Eagles about where they were last season, a borderline playoff team. Skill has increased marginally in the forward corps thanks to adding Bowers and Henry and hopefully hits the tipping point that allows them to score consistently. Those two should augment the power play but they’re still stuck using the Avs passive system so it’s doubtful that’s going to improve much. The blueline is unsettled but there are configurations available that should allow the team to improve significantly, if they choose to use them. No slight to the goalies themselves but replacing Francouz is a lot to ask. Neither Avs/Eagles management nor the coaching staff had any faith in younger and talented players last year and opted for experience and low skill level, which turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They didn’t think anyone could score and put together a lineup that made sure of that. Colorado wont be able to play poorly and fall backwards into a playoff spot on luck and goaltending again. This time they’ll have to earn it.