8:41 p.m.: Depth winger Logan O’Connor is out of the lineup tonight, per Meghan Angley of DNVR Sports. That could pave the way for Tufte to enter the lineup against Vancouver.
This is Tufte’s fifth recall of the campaign after he cleared waivers on October 9. The rather massive 6-foot-6, 220-pound Minnesotan has made three NHL appearances in 2023-24, recording a -3 rating, five shots on goal and no points in 11:56 of average ice time.
A 2016 first-round pick of the Dallas Stars, Tufte is finally showing massive offensive capabilities in the minors as he begins his fifth professional season. The 25-year-old leads the Eagles in goals (nine), assists (eight) and points (17) while posting a +7 rating in 12 contests.
Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland signed Tufte to a one-year, two-way deal last July worth $775K in the NHL and $375K in the AHL. After reaching unrestricted free agency via Group VI status last summer, Tufte will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of the season. Per CapFriendly, his qualifying offer is $813,750.
It’s unclear whether Tufte will play in tonight’s contest against the Canucks. He’s losing his grip on a potential roster spot to Joel Kiviranta, who just recently signed an NHL deal with the Avalanche after joining the team on a professional tryout in training camp and beginning 2023-24 on an AHL deal with the Eagles. Kiviranta, also a former Dallas Star, has four points through his first four games with Colorado.
Keeping Tufte on the roster longer than necessary does inch him closer to requiring waivers once again to return to the Eagles. Players can stay on the NHL roster for up to ten games played or 30 days after clearing waivers before needing to clear a second time. Tufte has been on the Avalanche roster for a total of 11 days since clearing waivers in October after today’s recall.