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Avalanche Notebook: Rantanen Absent, Francouz Update Cause For Concern?



It looked like the Colorado Avalanche were going to change up their top six when practice started.

Turns out, it was by necessity, because Mikko Rantanen was not present at practice.

Don’t panic though, Avalanche fans. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, and we saw Rantanen walking around after practice.

“Still day-to-day, just dealing with a lower body thing,” Jared Bednar said of the leading goal scorer on the team last year.

He reiterated he will be ready for opening night.

Let’s get on to the news from the rest of the day…

  • Ben Meyers was also absent from practice, and hasn’t skated in a few days. He’s day-to-day as well.
  • Josh Manson had a scheduled day off after playing last night. They’ll talk to him tomorrow and see how he’s feeling before determining if he will play in the preseason finale. It sounds like they want him to play, but won’t push it.
  • When asked about the game last night, Bednar wasn’t terribly positive. He said the team spent a lot of time in their own end, and  turned the puck over a fair bit. One player he did like was Ondrej Pavel, who scored the lone goal for the team.
    • “Having gone through the injury, I’m kind of rooting for him,” Bednar said of Pavel. The 23 year old forward was sent to the Colorado Eagles today, but expect to see him back up again at some point.
  • One player who did play well last night, according to Bednar, is Justus Annunen. The team is happy with how he’s looked through camp.
    • “I’m confident in Justus,” Bednar said. “He’s made huge strides over the last year. Looks like he’s getting more comfortable, and more consistent through the course of this camp. I trust Jussi (Parkkila) on that, so I’ve talked to him quite a bit on it. I think he’s played really well.”
  • Unless the Avalanche pick up another goaltender before the season starts, Annunen will start the season as the backup, and it doesn’t sound like Pavel Francouz is very close to returning. When asked about the injury to the 32 year old goaltender, Bednar corrected himself from calling it a “lower-body injury” and called it “injuries.” He’s in Colorado rehabbing, but I’m not sure how much he can be counted on moving forward.
  • The Avalanche made some cuts this morning, but Bednar was extremely happy with how some of those cuts performed in camp.
    • “Clurman, huge growth in his game,” Bednar said. “I thought his camp was outstanding. He’s now in the recall mix…Oskar Olausson, huge gains. We’ve talked about him for a couple of days now. He’s now, to me, in an actual recall mix. If he can go down there, play well, and help drive offense, he’s now, to me, an elite prospect for us.”
  • Speaking of cuts, Bednar took a while to get over to us after practice. It wouldn’t surprise me if more cuts are made in the next 24 hours.
  • When asked if a PTO (Kiviranta or Kozun) is any closer to getting a contract, Bednar said he didn’t know for certain. Both guys, according to him, have been “pretty good.”
  • When asked if MacDermid could play defense in a pinch this year, Bednar said he’d “like to avoid doing it, to be honest with you.” That sounds pretty clear to me.
  • Nathan MacKinnon was on the ice 30 minutes early, and out late working with Jonathan Drouin. He sets the standard in Colorado, for sure.
  • The team has not given me an official update on Jedlicka, despite reports that the injury appears to be serious. I’ve heard this, and multiple people in Slovakia have as well, but the team has not confirmed that.

That’s it for practice today. I had a great 1-on-1 chat with Ross Colton that I’ll have up later today or early tomorrow. The Avalanche will hold morning skate in Denver tomorrow before flying to Vegas for the final preseason game. That game will be televised on TNT.

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