Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has released an update on a slew of players in preparation for the team’s Wednesday night matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Bednar shared that newcomers Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar are likely to miss the matchup, while Cale Makar and Bowen Byram are game-time decisions. Drouin and Tatar were the last two skaters on the practice ice for Colorado, hinting that they could be leaning towards sitting out. If they do miss time, Bednar hinted at Kurtis MacDermid drawing into the lineup.
Drouin and Tatar have both played in all eight games for Colorado this season, with very different results. Drouin is off to a slow start, netting a sole assist on the season while averaging just over 13 minutes of ice time per game. Tatar has served in a similar role to Drouin – averaging 12 minutes of ice time each game – but has managed four assists. The duo are two of three Colorado forwards that haven’t scored a goal yet this season – Andrew Cogliano being the other.
Bednar said yesterday that one of Byram or Makar would likely sit out of the team’s Wednesday outing. Which defender may miss time is, unfortunately, unclear. While Byram has made an impact through the early going, he doesn’t bring the takeover ability that Makar can.
The Avalanche are now faced with the decision of whether to ice 12 forwards and six defensemen, or 11 forwards and seven defensemen – given the injuries to two top-nine forwards. MacDermid is likely to play regardless of what decision Colorado makes here – either slotting in on offense or defense depending where they need support. If Colorado decides to ice 11 forwards, Caleb Jones will draw in as the seventh defender. If they ice 12 forwards, Riley Tufte is expected to make his Avalanche debut. Both players were recalled to the NHL lineup yesterday.