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Avalanche GM Talks Offseason, Health Of Francouz, The Plan In Net, And More



Avalanche Chris MacFarland nhl trade

Before the season opener against the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland met with the Denver media members that traveled to LA.

GM’s don’t typically give you a whole lot in these interviews, and MacFarland is no different. He discussed several topics, including the offseason, the recent additions of Ivan Prosvetov and Caleb Jones, and perhaps most importantly, an update on Pavel Francouz.

Here’s a rundown of what the Avalanche GM had to say…

His thoughts on the offseason for the Avalanche:

“We’re happy with our offseason. We wanted to get deeper. I think we did that up front. I still think we’ve got the (Francouz) injury situation that’s going to be an interesting storyline for us. I think Justus had a great training camp, but with the moves we made, with adding Miles Wood, and Colton, Johansen, Tatar, they have to do it on the ice…Drouin…we’re excited to get her going and see what it looks like.

On if there’s an injury timeline for Francouz:

“Nope. Indefinite.”

On Getting Kiviranta and Holland into organization with the Eagles:

“We’re excited that they both decided to start with the Eagles there. Kiviranta, in particular, is a very experienced NHL player, so he can certainly, potentially work his way into the mix. Peter Holland didn’t play hockey last year, and he came in and had a good camp, and he’s going to add some depth and experience in the middle of the ice down there for the Eagles, and hopefully be a key player as well.”

On Nichushkin rejoining team:

“I don’t think Val is immature at all. I have no question on Val as a person or player, so we’re very excited to have him. He’s a really important player in our mix. He’s a top six horse that when he’s on the top of his game, he’s a beast to handle, so he’s a fixture in our lineup and we’re excited that he’s back.”

On the Avalanche claiming Ivan Prosvetov:

“I think the Prosvetov addition yesterday was something that our pro scouts and our goalie department were very excited about. I think, first and foremost, Justus Annunen had a great camp, and has done a great job, and that’s why he’s here with us. I think we needed to add depth to our goaltending tree, and Prosvetov’s a guy that our guy’s like. I’d be lying to you if I said I knew exactly how it’s going to play out in the next three, four, six weeks. You’ve got to get it done on the ice, and you’ve got to get it done in NHL regular season games, no matter who you are. It’s a really important piece of the equation, who’s going to compliment Georgiev. I think that narrative is still to be written, but with Ivan and Justus, they’re both young, they’re both big, and they both have a lot of upside. Now, we’ve got to see how it fits and if they can get it done in the NHL.”

On Annunen being able to play in the AHL without waivers:

“It’s a big part. Guys at this age, the one thing I think the one thing we all know, games. There’s nothing that can replicate games for the development of a goaltender. It’s a piece that, again, we’re going to have to find solutions to and only time will give us that answer.”

On the Avalanche trading for Caleb Jones:

“Very experienced, right? I think his skating fits how we like to play. He’s been a pretty good defender during his time in the NHL, and you can’t have enough good, quality defensemen. The one thing I think we do know is we’re going to need more than six (defensemen). We just felt that that acquisition made too much sense to add an experienced veteran defenseman to our mix.”

On the challenges of having to use LTIR:

“Yeah, the cap machinations, it’s well documented. We’ve used a lot of that money already, so we’re going to be in LTIR all year. The difference between last year and this year is this year we know it, and last year we didn’t. With Gabe’s situation, there’s some clarity and there’s some not clarity. Right now, everything is going great with him, and we remain very hopeful.”

On identifying Ross Colton and Fredrik Olofsson as centers, despite never having played their full-time in the NHL:

“Going back, in Ross’ case, to when he was in his draft year and then in Syracuse, and then certainly some with the Lightning, he’s played middle. And Freddie Olofsson was a center up until some of his recent time in Dallas. I think both of them can play center, we certainly see both as getting significant minutes in the middle of the ice. Freddie did a great job in the middle of the ice throughout camp, and was used exclusively there. His hockey sense is pretty good, so we’re curious to see how he’s going to look and hopefully what’s an extended look for him in the NHL. And Ross has been a proven two-way player. Yes, he can play wing, but we think he’s going to be a fixture in the middle of the ice as a hard-nosed, two-way center for us that eats up pretty good minutes.”

On signing someone late in the summer the last two years:

“Yeah, I don’t think there’s a magic pill to that. I think with the tight salary cap the last number of years, on July 1, there always seems to be, whether it’s one, or two, or three guys that get squeezed a little bit. I think the fact that we were able to with Evan (Rodrigues) and Tomas (Tatar), I think it’s just a credit to the organization, it’s a credit to the Kroenke’s, and what our guys and our coaches have done on the ice over the last number of years that it’s seen as an attractive place to play. It’s a great city, and it’s been a good hockey team. Forwards, in particular, get excited about our back-end that can get them the puck and they’ll have a good year, and maybe that springboards them on their next deal. I think it’s just been a factor of the system and the salary cap and that sort of thing.”

That’s all. He was asked for an update on the negotiations with Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews…but we know how that ended now.

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