Well, the Avalanche took a sizable whack to their camp roster this morning. Two players – Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers – unfortunately, are back in the minors.
Kaut and Bowers, both first-round picks (Kaut with the Avs, Bowers with Ottawa) will again start the season playing for the Colorado Eagles. Both played in last night’s game with the Dallas Stars, but the stats weren’t great.
Here are the stats for all Avs players last night:
Kaut and Bowers played about 12 minutes each and managed one shot on net between them. The fact that both were sent down again is a big disappointment for both, no doubt. It doesn’t mean they won’t still play for the Avs this season, of course, as injuries could precede a call-up. But any player from the minors will tell you: It’s really difficult to stick with the NHL club on a call-up. You’re always on borrowed time, unless you just absolutely kill it with the big club.
But the Catch-22 problem such players face: how can you kill it out there when you’re probably only going to get 5-10 minutes a night, playing on a depth line?
The Avs also essentially cut three other players: Jayson Megna, Dennis Gilbert and Artem Anisimov. Megna and Gilbert were placed on waivers, and Anisimov was cut outright. He had been on a professional tryout contract.
When waivers clear, the Avs’ camp roster will be at 26 players – but two of those players listed, Devon Toews and Pavel Francouz, won’t start the season. That means the real camp roster number is 24 players, and just one more cut still have to be made by Wednesday’s regular-season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Avs currently have 10 defensemen still on the camp roster (counting Toews), and I think the last cut is going to come down to either Justin Barron or Jacob MacDonald. (If Toews is somehow counted as part of the 23-man roster to start the season, then the Avs need to make two more cuts, which could mean that there is even more of a camp battle at defense, with maybe a Jack Johnson back in the mix as a potential cut.
About JJ: Yes, I still believe he’ll sign a contract with the Avs and survive. But until that happens…
Sampo Ranta is perhaps the one forward who is still on the bubble, and who knows, maybe Alex Newhook too.
It should be a competitive next few days at camp, to see who survives the final elimination ceremony.