On Sunday afternoon, the Colorado Avalanche demoted Sam Malinski, leaving them with just six defensemen on the roster.
After practice, Jared Bednar said that the team will take just six defensemen to Los Angeles. Moments later, when asked if the team would carry just 21 players for the road trip, Bednar had a slightly different answer.
“Yeah, we’ll see,” he said.
That could mean a lot of things. It could mean they’ll bring someone up from the Colorado Eagles for the trip, it could mean they’ll look to add a defenseman to the team, or it could mean…absolutely nothing.
Right now, we just don’t know, but on Sunday, a handful of defensemen were waived by their respective teams. Odds are that all of them will pass through waivers, because that’s what happens this time of year, but a few of them caught my eye as potential fits for the Avalanche.
Here are the three that could make sense for Colorado, and to the surprise of no one, they’re all right shots.
When the waiver list became public a little after noon, this was the first name to catch my eye. The 25 year old defenseman was in Carolina last year, but Avalanche fans will likely know him as someone who played 88 games with the Vegas Golden Knights from 2020-2022.
On paper, he’s someone who makes a fait bit of sense for Colorado. His underlying numbers are strong at both ends of the ice, he’s got decent size (6’2″, 207 pounds), can skate and move the puck pretty well, and can take care of things in his own end. He also comes from two teams that are known for being structured in their own end. And at 25 years old, the Avalanche staff might be able to mold him a little bit.
An NHL veteran of nearly 800 games, if the Avalanche are looking to add someone with some experience to their blueline, he would make a lot of sense, but how much does he have left in the tank?
Colorado is a team full of defensemen who are already injury risks, so it might not make sense to add another one. Speed is becoming an issue with Bogosian as he ages, but he’s been a solid extra defenseman the last handful of years with the Lightning. He takes a decent amount of penalties, but doesn’t draw any himself, and his underlying numbers are not great, especially defensively.
Of the three listed here, he might be my last choice, but he makes sense for a team that needs a little depth on the back-end.
A bit of a wild card, as this is someone whose been on waivers before, but when you dig into the numbers, he makes some sense.
I don’t think you can expect a ton of offense from Friedman, but his defensive numbers are very strong. He also draws an absurd amount of penalties on the opposing team, far and away the most on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Of the three defensemen listed here, he’s the cheapest at $775k, and like Bogosian, he’s got some snarl to his game. At 27, he likely is what he is, but could be a decent depth add to allow a guy like Malinski to play a little bit in the AHL. Between the three defensemen, he’s the one who averaged the most time per-game on the penalty kill, which might help his case.
None of these three defensemen will make you jump out of your seat, but that’s not what this team needs. They need a steady depth defenseman who can fill in when needed. All three of them being right handed shots is a bonus, and one the organization certainly takes into account.
We’ll find out by noon on Monday what the Avalanche decide to do, if anything. It wouldn’t surprise me if they added no one, but at least they have options.