Notes and links for a Sunday morning. Hope all of you are holding up OK. I know my subscribers are a hardy bunch – we’re HOCKEY PEOPLE, dammit – so I have no doubts of your fortitude through all this. So, let’s talk a bit about Bo Byram, shall we?
One of the things I’ve been asked a fair amount centers on whether the Avs will have an expanded roster for the playoffs, which took a big step in the process on Friday, when the NHLPA approved a 24-team format. The answer to that question is almost certainly a yes, though roster plans have not been finalized for any team. We still have to get all the players back to town, make sure they’re safe and tested, yadda yadda yadda, then they have to go on the ice for a presumed training camp.
Most reporting on this subject has said the league would allow rosters of up to 30 players, with the extra Black Aces on standby should injuries strike – or maybe somebody tests positive for COVID-19 suddenly.
One of the players that technically could play for the Avs in the postseason is last year’s fourth overall pick, Bo Byram. His season with Vancouver of the WHL was canceled by Covid. He was originally slated to go to the Colorado Eagles when his season was done and help the Avs’ farm team there, but that league was canceled too.
Byram could join the Avs as a Black Ace, but I’m told by an Avalanche source that Byram will not play, no matter what. Why not, you ask? Because, the Avs want to keep his entry-level contract still fully intact. Last year, they blew up a full year of Cale Makar’s ELC to have him join them in the playoffs, but that move worked out pretty well.
With Bo Byram, there just wouldn’t be any room to jump into this playoffs the way Makar did. Better to keep the kid’s development on a more normal course – and also for the Avs to have another year deferred to when they’d have to pay him much bigger bucks, when the three-year ELC expires.
Other guys I would expect to see added to the playoff expanded roster: T.J. Tynan, Conor Timmins, Martin Kaut, A.J. Greer, Shane Bowers, Sheldon Dries, maybe Kevin Connauton or a Jacob McDonald.
- Don’t like the way the 24-team playoff system is structured? Too bad, says columnist Ken Campbell (Hockey News)
- What about the seven teams who won’t be invited to the big playoff bazaar? Larry Brooks wonders if they’ll get screwed on the draft lottery (NY Post).
- Players want to re-seed teams in the 24-team playoff format. (TSN)
- The U.S. is opening the border for foreign-born athletes, meaning there shouldn’t be any red tape for a Nathan MacKinnon coming in from Cole Harbour or Mikko Rantanen from Finland (TSN).
PANDEMIC POP CULTURE RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK
Wicked Tuna. The weekly show, Sunday nights, about bluefin tuna fisherman in Gloucester, Mass., is always fun. Almost every show is the same – “We’re on, we’re on!”, reel the fish in, proclaim it’s a beauty, taken him back to the docks for processing and wait the tense second or two for the price per pound they get.