From the Eagles Desk: Summer Depth Chart

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.

Forwards

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.

Defensemen

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.

Goalies

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.

earl06

Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

4 thoughts on “From the Eagles Desk: Summer Depth Chart

  • July 8, 2019 at 9:22 AM
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    I personally don’t think it’s entirely fair to say the coaches/management had no “faith in younger and talented players” and therefore chose to “put together a lineup” that ensured they wouldn’t score. The fact is, a bunch of these young guys were given ample opportunity to prove themselves, and they simply failed to follow through. LOC is the one obvious exception, and Greer was occasionally brilliant (and occasionally so much in his own head that he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn). Kaut and Beaudin were both given top six minutes for much of the season (until the latter was traded). Kaut had a few flashes of greatness, but mostly chose to pass the puck every time it came to him rather than taking a shot. Beaudin never found his stride. Nantel, Shvyrev, Lewis, and Dickinson were also given plenty of opportunity to prove themselves. We don’t know why the coaches seemed to dislike Lewis. But the rest of these players had chances and failed to make good on them.

    On the other hand, Joly was a healthy scratch for the first few weeks of the season. By December, he was getting regular bottom six playing time but not doing much with it. The difference is, he kept trying. He kept improving. He kept pushing himself. And by the end, he absolutely earned his top six minutes.

    I feel like a lot of what I see with Avs bloggers talking about prospects is a failure to look at actual capability in the AHL.They see them in college or some other league and assume this young kid is going to blow the lid off the A. Then the prospect starts playing in the AHL, and the bloggers only look at stats and highlights. They keep telling themselves these guys are great and just aren’t getting a chance. The stats and highlights SEEM to back that up. But you’re not seeing the big picture. I think many Avs reporters need to take a big step back from their EXPECTATIONS of the prospects. Stop relying on stats and highlights, and make an effort to objectively evaluate the prospects based on actual game play. If you actually watched every single Eagles game start to finish, you’d see that many of these guys just aren’t getting it done, despite being given tons of top six minutes in the first 3/4 of the season. And I guess you can blame that on the coaches, but these same coaches managed to push LOC and Joly to do better than anybody anticipated. Which brings me back to, maybe these players just aren’t as good as you thought. Or maybe the players don’t want it badly enough. Or maybe they just need more time to develop. But when it comes down to a playoff push, I don’t think we can blame the coaches for putting in guys who have proven they can score (guys like Agozzino, Joly, and LOC) over guys who’ve had all season to prove the same thing and failed to do so.

    All that being said — I didn’t mean for it to sound as negative as it probably did. I appreciate the Eagles coverage and am super excited to see how they fair this year.

    • July 8, 2019 at 10:18 AM
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      Can’t speak for other blogs but we do watch every single game start to finish and have for the last five years. We have watched this organization both fail to win and develop players for the better part of a decade. We keep a close eye on development and usage around the league and see a team like the Charlotte Checkers who won while also developing their young prospects in large roles.

    • July 10, 2019 at 8:21 AM
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      I agree with a lot of this, there are some specific cases that were a little baffling to me tho.

      Kevin Davis is the most blatant, his scoring rate, especially on the PP was something the Eagles could have really used and why he was benched and ultimately demoted for Sergei Boikov remains a mystery.
      Beaudin was definitely a disappointment, I didn’t like the trade but understand that the Avs/Eagles staff were looking for what they thought would improve the team. McCormick was just as disappointing, he was on a shooting percentage bender with Belleville and that didn’t translate when he came over. We’ll never know what would have happened if someone else had been given that role but it’s safe to say it was a low bar to hurdle over.
      Nothing went well with the PP, Nic Meloche’s struggles entering the zone, getting boxed in at the points and giving up rush chances were well documented. I think deferring to Alt was a safe decision that was a little short-sighted. Maybe Nic would have continued to struggle, again we’ll never know, but the upside was much higher if he had worked through the issues. Anything would have been better than what they did.

      We definitely root for the young guys but my view has always been that vets are the consistency a team needs game to game but that young players progressing is the only way to season success. AHL teams improve through the season on the back of what their prospects are able to accomplish. If a coaching staff is too risk-averse then they’re in the wrong role. Let youngsters make mistakes, fix them and become a calder cup threat. If not then winning a few playoff games is about the best you can hope for.

      • July 10, 2019 at 8:40 AM
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        McCormick was definitely a disappointment. And Davis… yeah. No clue why that went down the way it did. As for Meloche – I feel like he did a lot better in the last couple of months of the season, but that was long after the Alt call-up. If I remember correctly (no guarantee at all), the Alt call-up happened during the Avs mid-season skid? If so, I can see why they felt that wasn’t the time to gamble on a struggling prospect. But that’s an Avs call, not an Eagles decision, right?

        Anyway. I really do appreciate the Eagles coverage. I just get a bit frustrated all around by the constant complaints (not just here – I mean in general) that the Eagles are somehow failing or “selling out” because guys like Kaut didn’t immediately become superstars, or because they chose to give Agozzino more minutes during the playoff push. I saw the Eagles give these kids plenty of opportunities to prove themselves during the first 3/4 of the season. Some of them just performed a lot better than others. And I think all the players — prospects included — should have to EARN their ice time, especially during playoffs.

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