Morning Skate Diary
Lehkonen “50-50” to make Avs debut tonight; Byram getting closer
Game No. 64 tonight for the Avs, against the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is 7:38 at Ball Arena. We may see Artturi Lehkonen make his Avs debut against the team from Beautiful British Columbia (that’s what’s on the license plates up there). Or, we may not.
Jared Bednar said it’s a “50-50” proposition if Lehkonen plays, because of still-pending immigration paperwork to settle.
“He’s cleared to do team activities, but we’re still waiting on approval for him to play games with us,” Bednar said.
With Lehkonen’s status for tonight still up in the air, we don’t know exactly what the line combinations will be. But Bednar did say on his Altitude weekly radio show this morning that Lehkonen, if he plays would be on a line with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky. That’s pretty interesting, as maybe this is an audition process for him to become a real second-liner moving forward – though Joe Sakic said in his presser on Monday that Lehkonen would project as a third-line left wing, on a line with Alex Newhook.
NOTEBOOK: Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for the Avs. … Bednar said it’s an “option” that Bo Byram might play some games with the Colorado Eagles before the Avs, in his rehab process. That said, everything is still in “We’ll know when he tells us he’s ready” mode (my words, not Bednar’s). … Andrew Cogliano will play tonight. … Kurtis MacDermid will play on defense. … Bednar said that both Lehkonen and Cogliano take a lot of pride in their defensive games and “that’s why we got ’em, right? They make us tougher to play against.” … On Byram, Bednar had more to say, which definitely indicates a return soon could be in the cards. He said “we’ll see” who he might play with when he comes back. He also said, “Bo’s been out a long time. Hopefully, he can get right to where his game was before he left. I was really impressed with Bo’s game. Last year, he was hurt for a long time. It sounded like he could have been available in the Vegas series, but he hadn’t played forever. And, to be fair…I didn’t see everything I needed to see from Bo last year. But this year he played 18 games, and he was a really good player in 14, 15, 16 of those games. So, now I’m anxious to get him back in. I want to see if he can get back to that level. So, when he says he’s ready, he’ll play. If he thinks he needs a couple games at the American level, that’ll be up to Joe and Bo to figure out.” … Avs are -270 favorites to beat the Canucks at SuperBook Colorado.