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Avs Notebook: Justus Annunen heads to the Eagles; Rantanen fined



Avs Jared Bednar 5/6/2021

All’s quiet on the Avs front today.

It was an optional skate this afternoon in Los Angeles, and by the looks of it a lot of players decided to exercise the optional part of it. Pulling images from @Avalanche on social media, we can deduce that it looks like the taxi squad players were on the ice, as well as the likes of Joonas Donskoi and J.T. Compher, presumably among a few others.

Perhaps the biggest bit of news with regards to the Avs is that high-end goalie prospect Justus Annunen is on his way to North America to join the Colorado Eagles.

Annunen was drafted 64th overall by the Avs in 2018 and already appears to usurp Adam Werner on the Avalanche goaltender depth chart. Like Werner, Annunen is big—6-foot-4 and 216 lbs. big. He made a name for himself in the Finnish Liiga, the top league in Finland, last season when he set a new league record for longest shutout streak (4 straight games—302 minutes, 5 seconds) and finished the year with a rock-solid 15-5-3 record and a 1.77 goals-against average, coupled with an equally as impressive .929 save percentage.

This season, however, he took a bit of a step back—granted, this Karpat team wasn’t as good as last season’s club. He finished the year with 7-9-7 record and a 2.43 GAA with a .884 Sv%.

Given the quarantine rules, it’ll be at least a week before Annunen can even step foot on the ice with the Eagles, and by then the regular season will be over. With AHL playoffs up in the air, there’s a chance we may not even see Annunen at all this year.

Other news and notes:

  • Mikko Rantanen was fined $2,000 by the league today for a “diving/embellishment” incident that took place during the April 30th game against San Jose. He was fined this time, because apparently he’d already received a warning for diving during the March 23rd contest at Arizona.
  • Should Rantanen be dinged for diving again, it’ll be a $3,000 fine. After the fifth dive, Jared Bednar starts getting fined too.
  • Coach Bednar didn’t even know about Rantanen’s fine when he was asked about it today. It was news to him. Bednar said he’d spent all morning watching last night’s game, taking notes, checking film, doing coach’s things.
  • Brandon Saad and Sam Girard are back in Denver working through their injures, and Bednar said he “certainly hopes” they’ll be back by the playoffs. He considers them day-to-day right now.
  • Could those guys return in time for the playoffs?… “I’m not trying to set lineups a month from now; I’m worried about the lineup that’s gonna play tomorrow night.”
  • One injured D-man, however, did return to the lineup last night. Coach Bednar said he “was pleasantly surprised” by Jacob MacDonald in his return, noting there was some rust, but he was pretty happy with his performance overall.
  • In other league news, coach Bednar was asked about the brawl that happened during the Washington-New York Rangers game last night. He said he felt that if the league suspended Tom Wilson, the escalation of yesterday’s game maybe wouldn’t have happened.
    • “They felt like something needed to be done as a team and they did that. It’s still a part of the game—clearly a diminishing part of the game—but a part of the game,” Bednar added. “Teammates are going to stick up for one another and they had a response to it.”
  • But really, the story of the day with regards to the Caps-Rangers pay-per-view Fight Night should not be about the fisticuffs, the drama, or the lack of suspensions. The story should be how T.J. Oshie recorded a hat trick in this game, the day after his father passed away. That’s pretty damn heart-warming.

Avs take on the L.A. Kings at 8 p.m. MST tomorrow night.

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