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Vogt: My Projected Colorado Avalanche Opening Night Lineup

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The Colorado Avalanche look a little different compared to the end of their Stanley Cup run. So what can we expect for the projected lines and roster next month? There were quite a few departures from the team so let me start by going over those first.

The biggest key departure from the Avs has to be, without a doubt Nazem Kadri. Playing second line center for the majority of the year, he was a key feature in the offense. He was a driving force in the playoffs despite missing some time due to a thumb injury. His presence and and 87 points will be sorely missed by the fans and the Avs. Andre Burakovsky will be another departure that will be missed in the points department. When he was on, he was on, using that snappy wrister to earn 61 points last year. Being two-thirds of the second line doesn’t help either.

I know there was a love/hate relationship with Darcy Kuemper (I liked him personally) but his ability to pull wins out will also be missed. Kuemper had 37 wins despite injuries and COVID last season. There were some points where he was one of the top goalies in the league. Last but not least (don’t laugh), Jack Johnson. he went into training camp fighting for a PTO and ended up being the utility man for the Avs at defense. Once the season was said and done, Johnson played a respectable 74 out of 82 games for the team. I thought he was one of the best stories through the year, fighting for a chance to stay in the league and then to win the Cup in what everyone thought to be his last year.

The biggest addition this off-season would have to be former Pittsburgh Penguin Evan Rodrigues. He had a breakout year, filling in spots for the injured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Rodrigues played anywhere from fourth line to second line and played some wing in the process as well. Playing in all 82 games this last year for Pittsburgh, he gained a career high 43 points. He averaged just under 16 minutes in ice time a night, all while winning 47.4 percent of his faceoffs. Rodrigues will be a key addition to the second line for the Colorado Avalanche this season.

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Alexandar Georgiev was the biggest splash that the Avalanche made in the trade market this summer. The Avalanche traded three draft picks for Georgiev. He holds a .908 career save percentage and allows just under three goals per game. Pushed to the backup role when Igor Shesterkin started playing well for the New York Rangers, Georgiev asked to be traded. He plays a very similar game to Henrik Lundqvist, in that he likes to kick the puck out to the corners. The Avalanche defense will have to make some adjustments to it, but he will be a great addition to the club.

Projected Lines

Lines
LW C RW
13 Val Nichushkin 29 Nathan MacKinnon 96 Mikko Rantanen
92 Gabriel Landeskog 9 Evan Rodrigues 62 Artturi Lehkonen
18 Alex Newhook 37 J.T. Compher 25 Logan O’Connor
11 Andrew Cogliano 59 Ben Meyers 43 Darren Helm
D D
7 Devon Toews 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard 42 Josh Manson
4 Bowen Byram 6 Erik Johnson
G
40 Alaxandar Georgiev
39 Pavel Francouz

The projected lines will look very similar to how the season ended last year just with a couple of gaps filled in. The defense has not changed at all, just the extra man that will get called up during an injury, The first line will stay the same as it ended the year, as will the the second. All in all, the Colorado Avalanche have a strong lineup and it will be something that can compete for another playoff run again this year.

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Brennan is an aspiring sports writer just getting started in the industry. He is also an intern writer for Full Press Coverage. Brennan has lived in Colorado his whole life and is a graduate in History at Colorado State University. He loves rock and metal music, especially the band Papa Roach.

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bartosz.nadrowski@wp.pl

Is Val healthy enough?

Glendon Gulliver

Good question. Nichushkin’s foot looked badly broken in x-rays. Is he back to skating and looking at playing on opening night?

Adrian Dater

I believe it’s all healed up.

Karl Keen

Good! I was just about to ask the same question Glendon!

Solid article Brennan!

So Dater, I assume Kelsey and Terry are gone for this year?

Alexander A

Isn’t the second line too weak in the center?

Travys Frampton

I think Newhook should get every chance possible to take the 2c.

hockeyhead

Newhook needs to be that third lineC. Maybe 2nd if he earns it.

ricoflashback

First of all, JJ wasn’t just a utility man. He was much more than “respectable.” JJ was a physical force on defense and one that was needed in the last two series. He was “lights out” against Tampa and delivered some heavy hits – – enough to slow down the Lightning attack. Second, no need to break up the Helm-Cogliano-O’Connor line. Have Meyers center the line with Newhook and Compher – if he makes the team. Or move him to wing and have Newhook center that line. There was talk about Newhook centering the 2nd line. Let’s see what he… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

I agree with your view of JJ. While he did not fit the “Avs mold”, he provided the muscle needed in the playoffs. The Avs have a great top 6 defense. The question becomes who are the backups and who could replace the big guys, Manson and EJ, if they get injured. Thank you on your comment about the 4th line. That line of Cogliano-Helm-O’Conner totally gelled in the playoffs to become a force together. I do not see them splitting up, unless it is because of injuries or if MacDermid plays offense. Right now I see Meyers having the… Read more »

Bradley Vogt

Uhhh. Anyone else dieing for Ockey to start?

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