Anton Thun is not a man given to garish pronouncements on much of anything. As an agent with more than three decades on behalf of NHL players (he used to be the agent for Mike Ricci when he was with the Avalanche), Thun chooses his words carefully when talking about his clients.
One of his current clients is Avalanche defenseman Conor Timmins, the second-round draft pick from 2017 (32nd overall) who has yet to play an NHL game because of concussion symptoms sustained in a playoff game in May 2018, as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Timmins’ condition, his future playing status, pretty much everything hockey-wise, remains muddled with question marks. But here’s what Thun told Colorado Hockey Now when asked about Timmins’ status for the fall:
“I expect him to play this season. He’ll be at training camp, that’s for sure,” Thun said.
Maybe the most encouraging part of Timmins’ current condition: he’s been doing a lot of power skating so far this spring under the tutelage of Dawn Braid, a Toronto-based skating coach who has worked with several NHL teams. Timmins, who lives near Toronto, has undertaken the heavier skating regimen with apparently no setbacks.
Here’s the thing with Timmins: He still has to pass some final tests to become a real player again. He’s going to have to prove he can withstand the noise, the lights, the various visual stimuli of actual games situations. Former Avalanche player Jesse Winchester was able to practice for much of the two years he was with the Avalanche, but he never played in a real game because the light and noise from a big arena on game night would induce concussion symptoms again. And, obviously, Timmins has to pass the tests of being able to take hits from NHL opponents. He did practice with contact at various points with the Avalanche and Colorado Eagles this past season, but time ran out on his being a realistic option for either team to play so late in their seasons.
Timmins is still just 20 years of age. The Avalanche definitely will remain patient with him. Yes, there is still worry about him. But that’s normal. Everybody just wants to see him pass those final tests, and the preseason schedule of the 2019-20 season is where, if things go as planned, we’ll all find out.