Saying the Colorado Avalanche have had a flurry of waiver-wire activity over the past couple of days surely wouldn’t make them unique; that would make them about a dime-a-dozen amongst other NHL clubs. However, their situation has created some buzz, and now we’re getting some clarity on it as well that not all teams necessarily provide. For one, as reported by Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater, former top prospects Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut, who were both placed on waivers yesterday, cleared and have been assigned to the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. Given the sheer number of players being placed on waivers this weekend, it’s not shocking that this pair would clear, especially given their lack of NHL success, however it was interesting to see the two placed on waivers given their former status as prospects and their still relatively young age (both are 23).
Turning to today’s waiver players, we noted earlier in today’s Waivers tracker that the Avalanche have put forwards Anton Blidh and Mikhail Maltsev on waivers. When head coach Jared Bednar met with the media, including Dater, earlier today, he shed some light on why that decision was made, indicating the two players were placed on waivers for “cap flexibility” purposes. That itself is not particularly surprising, considering that’s likely the reason for many waiver placements around the league right now, but Bednar did continue, saying that he felt Maltsev was “too quiet” in camp. The coach also added, without naming any specific names, “there’s a lot of guys that can ’play hockey.’ But we’re trying to win.”
- For the most part, training camp is used as a time to decide who makes the roster, and for those who have already secured a spot, it may be about deciding where they play and what role(s) they occupy. That was set to be the case this camp for Avalanche center Alex Newhook, who appeared to be in line for the open second-line center job that was left vacant by Nazem Kadri who signed with the Calgary Flames. However, the team also inked veteran center Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2MM contract his offseason, giving Newhook formidable competition for the role. With camp in the rear-view and a focus on the regular season ahead, it seems as though the Avalanche have not made a concrete decision on who will occupy what role. Instead, Bednar told the media, including Dater, that he will give Newhook a real, everyday chance to win the job over “a couple of months.” The decision to essentially not make one, appears to make sense. Operating this way will not only to allow Colorado to evaluate team chemistry and see how Newhook’s development continues, but also to see where Rodrigues stands, who broke out with 43 points in 82 games last year.
- On the injury front, Bednar said veteran forward Darren Helm likely won’t be able to play until “some time” early in the season. Helm, who played through an abdominal injury during Colorado’s Stanley Cup run last spring, is still recovering. A lack of a concrete timetable at this juncture is a bit concerning, however an early season return is nonetheless encouraging.