If you had Kevin Connauton and Logan O’Connor as the choices in the “Who will the Avs call up from the minors” pool, you won.
Indeed, the Avs have called up those two from the Colorado Eagles, giving the Avs seven healthy D-men and 13 healthy forwards as they embark on a five-game road trip starting Tuesday in Winnipeg.
My take: I know some of you are disappointed that Conor Timmins wasn’t the D-man recalled, but now isn’t the time to bring him up, if you just want a seventh guy. Timmins has been playing regular minutes with the Eagles, and that’s better for him, development-wise, than just having him come up and sit in the press box at the NHL level.
We could argue that he could be the one to step into the lineup maybe, and take Mark Barberio’s spot, but I’m not gonna go there. I think it’s better for Timmins to stay where he is for now.
Some wanted Calle Rosen to be recalled, too, but Connauton (above) is the guy with the most NHL experience, and he’s played pretty well in his 11 games with the Eagles (11 games, three assists, plus-3). I think, with Nikita Zadorov not expected to play for at least a couple of games, maybe more, Jared Bednar wants a bigger, more physical D-man at his beckon call as well. Connauton better fills that requirement.
As for O’Connor, it seems like the former DU product has played well so far in Loveland, with three goals and eight points in 12 games. He played five games for the Avs last season, don’t forget. He’s still looking for his first NHL point.
With Pierre-Edouard Bellemare out for at least the next game (Nick Foligno got a three-game suspension for the hit on him, by the way), I thought we might see a natural center be recalled, which made me think there was a chance Shane Bowers might get the call (he’s played better lately, with four points in his last five games), but Bednar hinted the other day that he thinks what’s best for Bowers this season might getting a full year in the AHL, for development. That could change, based on need and performance, but for now he’s playing regular minutes with the Eagles too.
Guys like Bowers and Timmins figure to be key pieces of the Avs’ future. Just not yet.