All things considered, Riley Tufte would probably be on the roster for the Colorado Avalanche full-time if not for some things outside of his control.
Tufte passed through waivers at the start of the season, and the Avalanche are taking advantage of the waiver rules as much as they can at the moment. If he’s on the roster for 30 days, he’s eligible to go through waivers again. The Avalanche don’t want that, so they’re manipulating the system as much as they can.
For a player, it can’t be easy, knowing that you’ve played well enough to be on the team, but certain things out of your control impact where and when you play.
The 25 year old winger understands the situation, and is hoping it’s only temporary.
“They’ve done a good job with (communicating),” Tufte told me this morning. “I guess that’s kind of the frustrating part for me is that you got that 30 days on the active roster, and they want to be careful with that, which I understand. I don’t even know what day I’m on, but I still got a little bit left. Once I think we’re coming close to that 30 days, I think I’m most likely going to be up here for good. Hopefully, at least, because I don’t want to be put on waivers again.”
Tufte, who played well in his one NHL game this year, was sent back to the Colorado Eagles right after the game ended last Wednesday. He didn’t sit and mope, though. The giant forward went out a few nights later and scored a hat trick, which he says was his first in pro hockey.
He knows his time will come in the NHL.
“It’s all just being patient,” Tufte said. “I had a good talk with Bedsie before practice, and he thanked me for my patience and stuff. He knows I’m doing well, and knows I played well up here, but got sent down after the game, which is a little bit frustrating, but I’d rather be playing than sitting in the stands, that’s for sure. I’ve just got to keep working.”
Bednar said Tufte, or any bubble player, having a great attitude makes a big difference.
“It’s really important,” the coach said. “Guys get their hopes up on being here right out of camp. He had a good camp, he had a good exhibition. It doesn’t play out the way I’m sure he had in his head, but he didn’t go down there and sulk and let it affect his game. In fact, it did the opposite. It motivated him, and he’s off to a hot start.”
“When you’re watching a guy go through adversity for something that really matters to him, and then rise to the occasion, I think it speaks a lot about the type of player that he is and wants to become.”
The Avalanche have rewarded Tufte with one game already, and as long as he keeps it up, he’ll get more opportunities, tonight being one of them.
“That’s the fun thing about my position. If you play well, you’re going to get rewarded,” Tufte said. “It’s a good spot to be, I guess. I didn’t really think I’d be getting this opportunity at this point in the season, this early, but with my good play, I think I’ve kind of earned it, and they’re kind of forcing me to be up here.”
Other News And Notes
- Tufte went to Adam Johnson’s memorial on Monday, and discussed what that meant to him to be there.
- “It was good to be there. Saw all my former teammates, and it was good seeing all them, and they did a really good job with the service. It’s good to be a presence there. It’s a tough one to swallow, but it was good to be there.”
- There is no update on Pavel Francouz, according to Jared Bednar, but I wouldn’t expect to see him back playing with the Avalanche any time soon.
- Valeri Nichushkin will play. I didn’t pay enough attention to who stayed on late, but I did see Tomas Tatar come into the locker room early. That would seem to hint that Jonathan Drouin is the odd-man out, but Bednar would not confirm who is leaving the lineup.