With the 2021-22 season officially set to open on Wednesday night in Denver, the Colorado Avalanche announced their final cuts on Monday morning.
Here it is:
While it looked liked rookie defenseman Justin Barron could be a candidate to make the opening-night roster, the 19-year-old D-man was among the final two cut (and reassigned to the Colorado Eagles, along with winger Mikhail Maltsev) on Monday.
One big surprise that sticks out is rookie forward Sampo Ranta appears to have made the Avs. Ranta, who was the third-round pick of the Avalanche in 2018, spent the last three years at the University of Minnesota before signing his entry-level contract with Colorado late in the 2020-21 season.
Ranta improved mightily year by year at Minnesota, finishing his junior year second in the NCAA in goals scored (19 goals and 31 points in 31 games). Ranta then made the jump to the pro ranks and tallied four goals and seven points in his first 14 games with the Colorado Eagles, while also appearing in two post-season games with the Avs.
Ranta figures to start at wing among the bottom-six forwards. Here is my guess as to how the opening-night forward lines shake out:
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Nichushkin – Kadri – Burakovsky
Compher – Jost – Newhook
Ranta – Helm – O’Connor
On the defense side of things, the Avalanche will roll with eight D-men to start the season, though Devon Toews will begin the year on IR. Kurtis MacDermid, will likely be the candidate to be sent down once Toews returns to game action in a couple of weeks.
Pavel Francouz will also start the year on IR. Jonas Johansson will slot in at backup behind Darcy Kuemper to start the year.
All-in-all, no huge surprises.
Now, I ask you, Avs fan: what are your thoughts on the 2021-22 roster?