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Ben Meyers makes Avs debut tonight and other lineup notes

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Ben Meyers

This is becoming kind of a secret weapon for many NHL teams AFTER the NHL trade deadline: the signing of top college free agents. That’s what the Avs did with former Minnesota Golden Gophers captain Ben Meyers, and the 23-year-old center will make his NHL debut tonight at Ball Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Meyers can play any games for the rest of the regular season, but he can’t play in the playoffs because his contract with the Avs was signed after the NHL trade deadline. Still, Meyers gives the Avs more depth down the stretch, and the ability to rest other guys before the playoffs.

“Just want him to go play and have some fun,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of Meyers. “I don’t know exactly what to expect from him. I want him to work hard, be responsible defensively and chip in if he can.”

One thing Meyers should keep an eye out for: being targeted. They won’t admit it publicly, but NHL veterans don’t like college free-agent signees too much. Many feel, right or wrong, that they got an undeserved shortcut to the NHL and they definitely like to “test” them right off the hop.

Meyers will center a fourth line with Andrew Cogliano and Logan O’Connor. The rest of the lineup looks like this:

Burakovsky-MacKinnon-Rantanen

Lehkonen-Compher-Nichushkin

Newhook-Sturm-Kubel

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Cogliano-Meyers-O’Connor

D

Toews-Makar

Girard-Manson

Byram-J. Johnson

Kuemper in net.

NOTEBOOK: Erik Johnson will get another rest. Bednar said Johnson has been dealing with a couple of nagging injuries as well, so more rest is good for him. Bednar said other guys will start to get more of a rest moving forward too, before the playoffs. … Nazem Kadri skated again today, albeit in a red jersey. … Still no word of Gabe Landeskog skating (UPDATE: Jesse Montano of DNVR reported that Landy did some very light skating earlier in the day). … Frederik Andersen will start in goal for Carolina.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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gimmepuck

Great info, AD.
It’ll be fun to see what Meyers can do.

Love the focus on signing Captains….that ensures you’ve got high character team first guys in your organization depth.

You can never have too much of that.

Donald Victory

Thank you Captain O!

gimmepuck

Boring, Don.
You should be able to do much better than this, after so many tries.

Donald Victory

Meyers can play any games for the rest of the regular season…

Huh?

AD what is up with Mattieu?

Kurt Scherer

Good opportunity to get his feet wet, get some NHL tape on him, rest somebody. Still, I expect Bedsy to be pretty protective. I expect MacDermid-like minutes.

Luke Waggoner

So who is sitting for Meyers?

Also, I’m curious how it is that Meyers contract after the deadline precludes him from the playoffs while Makar’s contract during the playoffs didn’t? I’m sure there’s a reason I’m just curious what it is.

Trenton Dunn

Loved his game tonight. That goal was so fun to watch.

Svein Lister

I agree. The goal was the icing on the cake, but overall he looked right at home out there. Almost 10 solid minutes, responsible play, and the best faceoff numbers on the team.

Aaron Rud

I’m curious why they wouldn’t try him at the AHL level first, or was the promise of playing time with the big club part of the reason he signed? Regardless, it was a good first game. He wasn’t afraid.

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