Avalanche

Russian center Denis Smirnov hopes to sign with Avalanche after NCAA career
Denis Smirnov has one of the more interesting player backgrounds at Avalanche development camp. Russian players with NHL pedigree don’t typically play NCAA hockey, but the Moscow-born Smirnov landed at Penn State and led the Nittany Lions — and all freshmen nationally — in scoring with 47 points (19 goals) last season. Smirnov, a 19-year-old center, came to the United States at age 14 to play hockey. His sister was playing tennis at Binghamton (N.Y.) University at the time, and he lived in that area until beginning a three-year junior-A stint in the United States Hockey League with the Indiana Ice and Fargo Force. “My sister introduced me to college sports and after that, I thought it was the best decision for my career,” said Smirnov, who speaks fluent English. “Obviously, they have tremendous facilities (at Penn State). Great coaches who can develop players and the academics, along with hockey, is something I couldn’t decline.” Smirnov joined Penn State last fall, and his season ended with a 6-3 loss to eventual national champion Denver at the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Cincinnati. The Pioneers built an early 2-0 lead in that game, but Smirnov scored early in the second period to tie it 2-2. DU dominated the rest of the second period and took a 5-2 lead into the third. Related ArticlesJune 28, 2017 Avalanche signs Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto June 27, 2017 Tyson Jost showing leadership at Avalanche development camp June 27, 2017 KHL veteran Andrei Mironov could bolster the Avalanche’s blue line June 26, 2017 Avalanche ousts Mikhail Grigorenko, who was tied to Ryan O’Reilly trade June 26, 2017 Avalanche supports NCAA development route for Tyson Jost, Cale Makar “Obviously, we lost. We didn’t do some things well,” Smirnov said of that game. “Denver did good against us, playing a smart, fast game, and we came out on the (wrong) side of the scoreboard. We had good chances, breakaways, 2-on-1s, but their smarts took over. They got that third goal, and then the fourth right away. We couldn’t come back.” Smirnov, 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, was selected by Colorado in the sixth round (156th overall) on Saturday. Because of NCAA rules, he had to pay his own way to the Avs’ development camp to keep his college eligibility. He will undoubtedly receive preseason All-America consideration as a sophomore at Penn State, which will begin its seventh season (sixth in the Big Ten) in 2017-18. “We have a good team coming back,” Smirnov said. “Lost a couple of good seniors who carried us through, but there’s a lot of character guys taking those spots and the incoming freshmen are already training (at Penn State).” First of the day. Avalanche second-round draft pick Conor Timmins entered last weekend’s draft ranked 18th among North American skaters, and fourth among defensemen. The major-junior standout from Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League was disappointed to not be picked in Friday’s first round, but he didn’t have to wait long Saturday. Colorado had the 32nd overall pick. “For the Avs to take me for the first pick of the day, it was pretty special,” Timmins said. Timmins is a right-shot defenseman and plays a similar game to Colorado’s first-round pick, defenseman Cale Makar. Both are right-shooting, puck-moving players with offensive upside. “I may not be the prettiest skater, but I like to move pucks quick and jump up in the rush,” Timmins said. “I think the game really quickly, and that plays in to my strengths.” Footnotes. Avs general manager Joe Sakic won’t speak to the media until after the team presumably makes minor moves Saturday when free agency begins. Through a team spokesman, the Avs will not be “in on the big players” available Saturday and intend to “build from within.” … Day 2 of the Avalanche’s three-day development camp mirrored Tuesday, with four groups going through various on- and off-ice drills in the morning, with a scheduled afternoon skate together. Thursday’s finale will only feature a morning session, from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The camp is open to the public and free of charge. [...]
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Avalanche signs Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto
The Avalanche on Wednesday signed the first of its seven qualified restricted free agents, locking up Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto to a two-year contract worth $2.8 million. Andrighetto, 24, was acquired from Montreal on the March 1 trade deadline for Norwegian forward Andreas Martinsen, and Andrighetto contributed 16 points (five goals) in 19 games with Colorado. Andrighetto is the third Swiss-born player to play for the Avs, joining goalies David Aebischer and Reto Berra. A 2013 third-round selection of the Canadiens, Andrighetto has 44 points (16 goals) in 102 career NHL games. He split time between Montreal and its American Hockey League affiliate during the last three seasons. The Avalanche will continue to work on agreeing to terms with its six other RFAs: forwards Matt Nieto, Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Rocco Grimaldi, and defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Duncan Siemens. Related ArticlesJune 28, 2017 Russian center Denis Smirnov hopes to sign with Avalanche after NCAA career June 27, 2017 Tyson Jost showing leadership at Avalanche development camp June 27, 2017 KHL veteran Andrei Mironov could bolster the Avalanche’s blue line June 26, 2017 Avalanche ousts Mikhail Grigorenko, who was tied to Ryan O’Reilly trade June 26, 2017 Avalanche supports NCAA development route for Tyson Jost, Cale Makar [...]
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Tyson Jost showing leadership at Avalanche development camp
Tyson Jost’s leadership is on display at the Family Sports Center. The 2016 first-round draft pick (10th overall) didn’t need to impress the Avalanche brass at development camp. He is all but assured of an NHL opening-night roster spot in October, given that the Avs are rebuilding and Jost is a big part of the plan. So why is Jost, 19, doing another development camp with the Avs? “It’s pretty straightforward: Next year my goal is to be in the NHL (full-time) and make an impact with the Avs and help them move in the right direction,” Jost said Tuesday at the start of the three-day camp. “I’ve been in Denver for over a month and a half now, getting used to the city and looking to be more like a pro and get ready for the NHL. I think the development camp is a great step for that. It’s an awesome program here. They know what they’re doing, and it’s great to be out on the ice. You can never get too ahead of the game, so I think it’s good for me.” He added: “At my year-end interview, I told them I wanted to come to development camp, and training around here before I go back and spend some time with my family in Kelowna (British Columbia). So it was kind of mutual. I wanted to be here. And, like I said, it’s good ice, good training.” Jost, who played in six games with the Avalanche from March 31 to April 9 after his freshman season at North Dakota, is thought of as a natural leader — and he’s feeling like one at the development camp. “I was in a lot of these guys’ positions last year with the draft and whatnot. I definitely do feel like a leader here, a guy a lot of people can look up to,” he said. “I looked up to a lot of people last year, and I can kind of be that guy this year.” Jost is particularly looking out for defenseman Cale Makar, the Avs’ 2017 first round draftee (fourth overall). Jost and Makar won a gold medal together for Canada West at the 2015 World Junior-A Challenge. “We won gold together. So that’s pretty cool. And I’ve been texting him,” Jost said. “Only thing I have against him is he’s going to the wrong school — he’s not going to North Dakota.” Makar is bound for UMass, and possibly on a one-year plan like Jost, who has changed his Avalanche sweater number to 17 — the number he wore at UND. Unrestricted free-agent forward Rene Bourque wore No. 17 for the Avs last season. [...]
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Avalanche supports NCAA development route for Tyson Jost, Cale Makar
Avalanche first-round draft pick Cale Makar is beginning a similar path taken by the team’s 2016 first-round pick, Tyson Jost. And because the development model worked out for Jost — a center who signed with the Avs after one season at North Dakota — the team is optimistic it will also work for Makar, a University of Massachusetts-bound defenseman. Jost and Maker became top-10 NHL draft picks from playing in a Tier II Canadian junior-A league. Both chose the college hockey route, and each wanted desperately to be a rare collegian for Team Canada at the world junior championship. Jost, who was selected 10th overall in the 2016 draft, represented his country at the WJC last winter and had an excellent freshman season at North Dakota before turning pro and playing in six NHL games for the Avalanche. His three-year, entry-level contract begins in October. Makar, the 2017 draft’s No. 1-ranked North American defenseman who went No. 4 overall, talked about his goals Monday at the Pespi Center, where the Avs introduced five of the seven members of the team’s new draft class. Makar said he hasn’t wavered on his commitment to play for UMass. “I was invited to the (Team Canada) camp at the end of July camp, and I’m excited to get there and meet all those guys,” Makar said. “It’s definitely a goal of mine to play at the world juniors in Buffalo this year. As for the NHL, whenever the organization feels I’m ready, and when I’m ready, I want to make that jump. It’s been my goal ever since I was a kid, to be at this level.” UMass finished 5-29-2 last season under first-year coach Greg Carvel, who inherited a downtrodden program but put together college hockey’s third-ranked recruiting class for this fall. Makar is among 11 newcomers to a team that has changed its culture under Carvel. The Minutemen play in Hockey East, of the the country’s toughest conferences, and the Avs believe he will develop well in Amherst, Mass. “Our guys talked to the coaches already,” Alan Hepple, the Avalanche’s director of amateur scouting, said of Carvel and his staff. “They’ve assured us he’s going to get all kinds of playing time, all kinds of situations. And it’s a good league.” UMass played 36 games last season, about half as many as a typical Canadian Hockey League (major junior) schedule. But college hockey offers more off-ice development, and its players are older. “I was talking to Tyson Jost this morning and I (asked) if it was ever frustrating last year — you play one game one weekend and then have next weekend off. He said, ‘Yeah, it drove me crazy. But I was able to get in the gym. I was able to do this,’ ” Hepple said. “So, you know, seeing what Tyson went through and his development — he got to play against older players, he got to play against men — and went to world juniors. … We’re hoping Cale gets there too at Christmastime.” Makar wasn’t on the Team Canada radar last year because he was playing in the Tier II Alberta Junior (A) Hockey League, and Canada’s top players usually play major junior. Jost played in the Tier II British Columbia Hockey League before joining North Dakota. John Leyba, The Denver PostColorado Avalanche first pick Cale Makar poses for a portrait on June 26, 2017 in Denver at Pepsi Center. Related ArticlesJune 26, 2017 Avalanche ousts Mikhail Grigorenko, who was tied to Ryan O’Reilly trade June 26, 2017 Rally for Rylie: Grieving family presented with $92,500 check from Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation June 25, 2017 Avalanche to introduce draft picks, begin development camp June 24, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche selects another puck-moving defenseman, five others Saturday June 23, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning Every NHL team wants its prospects to play in the WJC, hockey’s biggest international amateur tournament. “Team Canada is going to pick the best players, and over the years they’ve taken college guys,” Hepple said. “There was talk when he was rising in the rankings that he should have been on Canada’s junior team last year. But he’ll be in their tryout camp and I expect, come December, for him to be one of the guys named to the team.” Beginning Tuesday with the Avalanche’s three-day development camp at the Family Sports Center in Centennial, Makar just wants to impress those who want him to succeed. “Nobody is going to care about what you’ve done before the draft if you don’t find success for yourself after,” Makar said. “You have to make a name for yourself, whether it’s at the development camp or at UMass. Whatever I can [...]
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Avalanche ousts Mikhail Grigorenko, who was tied to Ryan O’Reilly trade
Forward Mikhail Grigorenko, a key return piece in the Avalanche’s 2015 trade that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres, was not given a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent and appears finished with Colorado. He will become an unrestricted free agent Saturday. Grigorenko, 23, played in 75 games last season, producing 23 points (10 goals). He played in 74 games in 2015-16, his first season with the Avs, amassing 27 points (six goals). The Avs acquired Grigorenko, defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forward prospect J.T. Compher and a second-round draft from Buffalo for O’Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn. Zadorov and Compher will be regular contributers for Colorado next season. Related ArticlesJune 26, 2017 Avalanche supports NCAA development route for Tyson Jost, Cale Makar June 26, 2017 Rally for Rylie: Grieving family presented with $92,500 check from Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation June 25, 2017 Avalanche to introduce draft picks, begin development camp June 24, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche selects another puck-moving defenseman, five others Saturday June 23, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning The Avs also didn’t qualify RFA defenseman Patrick Weircioch, who played in 57 games last season, his first year with the team after signing as an unrestricted free agent last summer. Colorado made qualifying offers to seven RFAs: forwards Sven Andrighetto, Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Matt Nieto and Rocco Grimaldi; and defensemen Duncan Siemens and Zadorov. Draftees. Five of the Avalanche’s seven 2017 draft picks met the Denver media Monday and all seven will participate in the three-day development camp beginning Tuesday at Family Sports Center. Most of the camp’s attention will be put on Colorado’s first two picks, right-shooting defensemen Cale Makar (fourth overall) and Conor Timmins (32nd).. The Avs also chose forward Nick Henry in the fourth round (94th overall), goalie Petr Kvaca in the fourth (114th), center Igor Shvyrev in the fifth (125th), left wing Denis Smirnov in the sixth (156th) and defenseman Nick Leivermann in the seventh (187th). Kvaca and Shvyrev were not present Monday at the Pepsi Center because of visa and travel issues. Footnote. Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher of the University of Denver is continuing to ponder whether to sign with the Avalanche or become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 16. He won’t decide until next week at the earliest. The 2013 Avs draft pick wants to see what unfolds Saturday, when free agency begins. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent because NHL teams have just four years to sign their selections or they lose their rights. 2017 Development Camp Roster GOALIES (4) 60 Adam Werner 61 Petr Kvaca 74 Francis Leclerc 75 Ryan Larkin DEFENSEMEN (8) 41 Nicolas Meloche 59 Cale Makar 62 Tom Gregoire 63 Desmond Bergin 68 Conor Timmins 76 Andrei Mironov 78 Nate Clurman 80 Nick Leivermann FORWARDS (10) 17 Tyson Jost J.C. Beaudin 64 Sami Moilanen 65 Ty Lewis 67 Hugo Roy 70 Nick Henry 72 Denis Smirnov 73 Travis Barron 79 Brady Shaw 81 Cam Morrison [...]
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New Jersey Devils on the clock with No. 1 pick in NHL draft
CHICAGO — The NHL stage belongs to Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils. Then it goes right back to George McPhee and the Vegas Golden Knights. In the wake of Vegas’ expansion draft, New Jersey is on the clock with the No. 1 pick of the amateur draft beginning Friday night at the United Center. The only other time the franchise had the first pick was in 1979, when the then-Colorado Rockies selected Rob Ramage. “I think it’s been exciting for our franchise, exciting time for our scouts,” said Shero, who was hired as New Jersey’s general manager in May 2015. “In addition obviously to the first overall pick we’ve got the nine other picks, which are going to be very important on Day 2. “But this is, I think, once the dust has settled now with expansion in terms of Vegas making all the selections or trades, whatever they’ve done, it really puts into focus again OK, the draft itself, which is important for every team.” After New Jersey makes its pick — Shero said the Devils know who they are going to take, but he was keeping that to himself for now — Philadelphia, Dallas, Colorado and Vancouver round out the top five. Then Vegas makes the first pick in franchise history. The Golden Knights announced two more trades Thursday, running their total to 13 selections for this year’s draft. Vegas sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a 2018 seventh-round draft pick to Carolina for a second-round selection on Saturday. It also shipped defenseman David Schlemko to Montreal for a fifth-round pick in 2019. Vegas, which selected 30 players in its expansion draft Wednesday night, has three picks in each of the first two rounds. It also has two selections in the fifth and sixth. “It’s a hard draft,” said McPhee, the franchise’s GM. “Going through it today, it’s been a harder draft than most so it’s taking some time … three picks, it’s a lot to manage and you really have to focus. When you have one pick in the first round, you’re looking for one guy. When you’ve got three, it’s harder. But it’s a good problem to have.” Forwards Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Casey Mittelstadt and Cody Glass and defensemen Cale Makar and Miro Heiskanen are among the most coveted prospects. Patrick, whose father, Steve, and uncle James both played in the NHL, held the top spot in the NHL Central Scouting Department’s final rankings in April. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select top-rated defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 New Avalanche uniforms revealed for 2017-18 season June 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 19, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche could trade No. 4 pick or choose another forward June 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick Despite missing much of last season with a groin injury, Patrick had 20 goals and 46 points in 33 games with Brandon of the Western Hockey League. “At the end of the day I don’t care if I go one, two, three, four, like it doesn’t matter to me,” said Patrick, who threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday’s Cubs game at Wrigley Field. “I’m just excited to get drafted and have a chance to try out for an NHL team. So it doesn’t matter to me.” Unlike the past two years, when Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews went No. 1 overall and immediately had a huge impact on their new teams, there doesn’t appear to be a transcendent talent at the top of the draft. Led by Patrick and Hischier, the forwards are generally considered the top position group. “I think this still will be proven to be a good draft,” Shero said. “Especially as they always look back, there’s always one or two Hall of Famers in every draft. Doesn’t matter where, they’re going to be in this draft 20 years from now. And who is it? That’s what the challenge is for any team.” [...]
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Avalanche to introduce draft picks, begin development camp
Similar-style Canadian defensemen Cale Makar and Conor Timmins, and other members of the Avalanche’s 2017 draft class, will meet the Denver media Monday afternoon at the Pepsi Center. Makar, 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, was selected in the first round (fourth overall) on Friday and Timmins (6-1, 185) was taken with the first pick of the second round (32nd overall) on Saturday. The two 18-year-old, right-shooting playmakers represent the future of Colorado’s blue line. Makar intends to play at the University of Massachusetts next season and Timmins likely will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a third season in the Ontario Hockey League. Makar, ranked No. 1 among draft-eligible North American defensemen, might be capable of playing in the NHL by the 2018-19 season. Related ArticlesJune 24, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche selects another puck-moving defenseman, five others Saturday June 23, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning June 23, 2017 Avalanche select defenseman Cale Makar with the No. 4 pick in NHL draft June 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select top-rated defenseman Makar and Timmins presumably will remain in Colorado this week and participate in the Avalanche’s three-day development camp, which begins Tuesday at the Family Sports Center in Centennial. The team said 22 young players will participate in the camp. Meanwhile, Sunday marked the beginning of NHL free agency’s window of opportunity. Teams were allowed to contact free agents but not negotiate. The signing period begins Saturday, and the 2016-17, last-place Avs presumably will be active. General manager Joe Sakic surprisingly didn’t make a trade before or during the draft. He told reporters in Chicago that he wasn’t happy with the offers made for 26-year-old forward Matt Duchene, and said he could envision Duchene remaining with the Avs next season. Duchene is among Colorado’s 13 big-league players signed for next season, a list that doesn’t include signed prospects such as Andrei Mironov, Chris Bigras, A.J. Greer and Spencer Martin. The Avs are more than $21 million under the salary cap, with restricted free agents Sven Andrighetto, Matt Nieto and Nikita Zadorov yet to be signed. Avalanche development camp schedule Family Sports Center, Centennial Tuesday — 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (four groups, various times) and 3-4:45 p.m. Wednesday — 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (four groups, various times) and 3-4:45 p.m. Thursday — 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. The camp is open to the public with free admission.  [...]
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Avalanche select defenseman Cale Makar with the No. 4 pick in NHL draft
The Avalanche selected NCAA-bound defenseman Cale Makar with the fourth pick in the first round of the NHL draft Friday. Makar, 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, is a standout Tier-II player for Brooks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He is committed to play hockey for Massachusetts-Amherst next season, and is now the highest-drafted player in AJHL history, surpassing Avalanche forward Joe Colborne, who was selected 16th in 2008 by Boston before joining the University of Denver as a freshman. “It was a goal of mine to be in the first round and one of the high-caliber defensemen in this year’s draft, but I would have never thought of fourth overall,” Makar, the highest-ranked draft-eligible North American defenseman, said in a phone interview. “It’s pretty special. I’m very humbled. But the way I look at it, it’s just a number and it’s all about what you do after.” Makar, from Calgary, Alberta, is the Avalanche’s second consecutive first-round pick from Canada to choose the college-hockey route over the Canadian Hockey League (major-junior). A year ago, the Avs chose Alberta-born forward Tyson Jost, who played one season at North Dakota before signing with Colorado in April. UMass finished 5-29-2 last season under first-year coach Greg Carvel, but Makar is excited to play for the Minutemen, who are bringing in 11 freshmen. Makar committed to UMass nearly two years ago, before NCAA giants like the University of Denver got involved. “I couldn’t be more excited to go to UMass with the new coaches there,” Makar said. “It’s going to be a completely different program this year. They’re bringing in 11 freshmen and last year was the first year with the new coach, and he had the old recruiting group. Obviously, they didn’t do the best but this year there is a lot of energy build-up and they’re bringing in a bunch of great guys.” Scouts describe Makar, 18, as a flashy offensive-minded defenseman like Ottawa Senators’ star Erik Karlsson, the two-time Norris Trophy winner who was a finalist for the NHL defenseman of the year award this past season. Makar has the ability to skate the puck the length of the ice and make the quick breakout passes from the defensive zone. In 54 regular-season games last year, he amassed 75 points (24 goals) in leading all AJHL defensemen in scoring. He also led Brooks to the AJHL championshp and the Royal Bank Cup National Junior A title. Makar was the second defenseman selected Friday at the United Center in Chicago, following Miro Heiskanen at No. 3 to Dallas, and he is just the third defenseman selected by the Avs in the first round in the past 11 years. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic announced the selection of Makar. “Just to shake his hand was unbelievable,” Makar said. “It was pretty special to meet him and everybody in the organization.” Makar will meet the Denver media at the Pepsi Center on Monday. The Avalanche has the first pick of the second round, which begins at 8 a.m. MDT Saturday. Colorado has seven selections overall. Related ArticlesJune 24, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche selects another puck-moving defenseman, five others Saturday June 23, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning June 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select top-rated defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” Cale Makar Defenseman, 5-11, 187 pounds. … Did not play for Team Canada at the 2017 World Junior Championship but served as captain of Canada West at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge after winning a gold medal in the 2015 tournament. … Signed to play NCAA hockey for Massachusetts-Amherst in November. … Led the Brooks Bandits to a second consecutive AJHL championship and led the league’s defensemen with 24 goals and 75 points, plus 16 points in 13 playoff games. He was named league MVP, playoff MVP, most outstanding defenseman, and all-star. Brooks went on to win the Royal Bank Cup National Junior A title. Getting to know Cale Makar/By NHL.com TV show I recently binged-watched: The Office The celebrity that always makes me laugh: Kevin Hart The APP I spend too much time on: Netflix All-you-can-eat favorite: Wings, chicken fingers The coolest person I’ve ever met: Painter Bill Brownridge Athlete I most admire: Bobby Orr If I could be a super hero I would be: Spider-man I am inspired by: My parents I am afraid of: Heights I dream of: Winning the Stanley Cup   [...]
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NHL draft: Avalanche selects another puck-moving defenseman, five others Saturday
On Day 2 of the NHL draft Saturday, the Avalanche continued to focus on play-making defensemen and remained quiet on the trade front. With the first pick of the second round at the United Center in Chicago, the Avs chose Conor Timmins, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound defensemen who has similar attributes to Colorado’s first-round pick on Friday, Cale Makar — the draft’s highest-rated North American defenseman. Both Makar and Timmins are considered skilled, puck-moving defensemen capable of quarterbacking the power play. And both are right-handed shooters. Makar, 5-11 and 187 pounds, is loosely compared to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, and Timmins has the traits of Washington’s Kevin Shattenkirk. Timmins, ranked fourth among North American defensemen, plays major-junior in the Ontario Hockey League for Sault Ste. Marie, where he amassed 61 points (54 assists) in 67 games. His plus-53 rating was fifth-best in the OHL. In the end, Colorado collected two of the top four draft-eligible defensemen in the continent. In the previous 10 drafts, the Avs chose just two defensemen in the first round — Shattenkirk in 2007 (14th overall) and Duncan Siemens in 2011 (No. 11). The Avs didn’t have a third-round pick — it was traded to New Jersey for defenseman Eric Gelinas in 2016 — but they went on to select three forwards, a goalie and another defenseman in the seventh and final round. Colorado, who finished with a league-low 48 points last season, did not make a trade during the two-day draft. Footnotes. As expected, incoming University of Denver freshman defenseman Ian Mitchell was selected in the second round. Mitchell, who was ranked No. 26 among North American skaters, went to the Chicago Blackhawks with the 57th pick. Future DU classmate Dayton Rasmussen was not among the 21 goalies selected, despite entering the draft at the No. 6-rated North American goalie. But Rasmussen, 18, will also be draft-eligible next year after his freshman season with the Pioneers. … The Avalanche used its first two picks on defensemen first the first time since 2007, when it selected Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen (second round, No. 45). … Each of the Avs draft picks played in different leagues last season (AJHL, OHL, WHL, NCAA, Russia, Czech Republic, U.S. high school). … Englewood native Cal Foote was among five Americans selected in the first round Friday, and 49 overall. Avalanche Day 2 draft selections: Second round (No. 32): D Conor Timmins, 6-foot-1, 184-pounds Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) — Ranked 18th among North American skaters (fourth among defensemen). Fourth round (No. 94): F Nick Henry, 5-11, 190 Regina (WHL) — Was the WHL’s second-leading rookie scorer last season with 81 points (35 goals) in 72 games. Fourth round (No. 114): G Petr Kvaca, 6-1, 174 C. Budejovice (Czech) — Undersized but finished last season with a .939 save percentage. Fifth round (No. 125): C Igor Shvyrev 6-1, 191 Magnitogorsk (Russia) — His cousin, Nikolay Kulemin, is a forward with the New York Islanders. Sixth round (No. 156): F Denis Smirnov, 5-8, 185 Penn State (NCAA) — Led Penn State and all NCAA freshmen in scoring last season with 47 points (19 goals). Seventh round (No. 187) — D Nick Leivermann, 5-10, 194 Eden Prairie (Minn. HS) — Committed to play college hockey at Notre Dame. Avalanche selection Friday: First round (No. 4) — D Cale Makar, 5-11, 187 Brooks (AJHL) — Projected to become the next Duncan Keith or Erik Karlsson. — Mike Chambers, The Denver Post     [...]
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Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning
Colorado native Cal Foote, the son of former Avalanche defenseman and team captain Adam Foote, stole NHL-draft bragging rights from his father Friday. Cal, an 18-year-old defenseman born in Denver, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2017 draft at the United Center in Chicago. Adam Foote was drafted 22nd (second round) by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. “He pretty much taught me everything, or most, of what I know about the game,” Cal told reporters at the United Center. “Just being around him. He’s helped me a ton and I’m very fortunate to have him on my side.” Cal played youth hockey for the Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds and considered the University of Denver. He chose the major-junior route and the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. He likely will begin his third season with the Rockets and again play with his 16-year-old brother Nolan, who could be an NHL draft pick in 2019. Related ArticlesJune 23, 2017 Avalanche select defenseman Cale Makar with the No. 4 pick in NHL draft June 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select top-rated defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights “It’s a two-way style,” Cal Foote said when asked to describe his game. “I like to play defense but jump up in the play as well. I like to add to the offense.” In an NBC Sports Network interview, Adam Foote said of his eldest son: “Just an all-around defenseman that can add some offense and shut down (attackers).” Footnote. Incoming Denver Pioneers freshmen Ian Mitchell and Dayton Rasmussen are expected to be drafted Saturday. Mitchell, a defenseman from Calahoo, Alberta, is ranked No. 35 among North American skaters. The Minnesota-born Rasmussen, who lived in Colorado and played for the Colorado Thunderbirds, is No. 6 among North American goalies. Both Mitchell and Rasmussen participated in the recent NHL draft combine in Buffalo.   [...]
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At No. 4, Avalanche could select an elite young defenseman
The NHL’s weakest team lost big in April’s draft lottery but still could be in position to select the draft’s best defenseman with the fourth overall pick. The Avalanche has many needs, but an elite young defenseman is at the top of the list. The candidates are Canadian junior-A star Cale Maker and Finnish professional Miro Heiskanen. Makar, 18, is the top-ranked North American defenseman (ninth overall) and Heiskanen, 17, is the No. 1 prospect among European blue-liners (fourth overall). The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers have the first two picks, respectively, and forwards Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick are expected to have their names called before Dallas goes on the clock with the third pick. The Stars will consider Maker, Heiskanen or a forward such as Cody Glass or Gabe Vilardi, both of major-junior’s Canadian Hockey League. Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple said the team will take “the best available player,” regardless of position, but having Makar or Heiskanen on the board at No. 4 could change that plan. Colorado has selected just two defensemen in the first round in the last 10 drafts (Kevin Shattenkirk in 2007, 14th overall; Duncan Siemens in 2011, 11th overall). TOP PROSPECTS The order of the following rankings were made by Craig Button, TSN director of scouting. The comment is by Mike Chambers, The Denver Post. Top five forwards Nico Hischier, 6-foot-1, 176 pounds, Halifax (QMJHL) — In excellent position to become the highest-drafted Swiss-born player ever, Hischier led QMJHL rookies with 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games. He was named the leagues’s and Canadian Hockey League’s rookie of the year and awarded the Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL’s best professional prospect. Plays like former Detroit star Pavel Datsyuk. Nolan Patrick, 6-2, 199, Brandon (WHL) — Given the CHL’s top draft prospect award after an injury-plagued season in which he produced 20 goals and 46 points in 33 games. Patrick is the No. 1 overall prospect by most scouts. … Was named the 2016 WHL playoff MVP after leading Brandon to league title. Cody Glass, 6-2, 178, Portland (WHL) — Perhaps the draft’s best two-way forward, Glass amassed 32 goals and 94 points in 69 games last season but is similarly impressive on the defensive end. Models his game after Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and his idol is Chicago’s Jonathan Toews — two of the NHL’s best two-way forwards. Gabe Vilardi, 6-3, 203, Windsor (OHL) — The Canadian had 29 goals in 49 games for the Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires. He won’t turn 18 until Aug. 16 and will be one of the youngest players in this year’s draft. … Compares his style of play to John Tavares. Martin Necas, 6-1, 178, Brno (Czech) — Ranked fifth among European skaters, Necas represented the Czech Republic at the 2017 World Junior Championship and the 2016 under-18 worlds and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he served as captain and led the Czech’s to the gold medal. Says he likes to emulate Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Washington’s  Evgeny Kuznetsov. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights June 21, 2017 New Avalanche uniforms revealed for 2017-18 season June 21, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announces 2017 home opener Top five defensemen Cale Makar, 5-11, 187, Brooks (AJHL) — Widely considered the draft’s top defenseman, the University of Massachusetts-bound Makar put up extraordinary numbers (24 goals, 75 points in 54 games) before being named Canadian Junior Hockey League MVP, an award covering the entire 132-team CJHL. … Ranked ninth among North American skaters but could go as high as third overall. … Models his game from Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson. Miro Heiskanen, 6-1, 172, HIFK (Finland) — Just 17, Heiskanen played in Finland’s top professional league last season after dominating the junior scene. He has been a staple in Finland’s under-18 and World Junior Championship international teams and his experience diminishes his age; he turns 18 on July 18. … Lists Pavel Datsyuk as his childhood hockey idol. Timothy Liljegren, 6-0, 188, Rogle (Sweden) — LIke Heiskanen, Liljegren is his country’s best draft-eligible puck-moving defenseman. He has starred for Sweden in the various international tournaments and patterns his game after Swedish star Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Pierre-Olivier Joseph, 6-2, 163, Charlottetown (QMJHL) — He is ranked [...]
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Avalanche to begin 2017-18 season with three-game East Coast trip
The 2016-17 NHL-worst Avalanche will begin 2017-18 in the trenches of an East Coast trip beginning Oct. 5 at the New York Rangers. The three-game trip continues through New Jersey and Boston before completing a home-and-home set against the Bruins on Oct. 11 in Colorado’s home-opener at the Pepsi Center. The Avs open against the Rangers for the first time in club history, and the three-game trip marks the first of its kind to begin the season since 2000-01, when they opened with a four-game trip and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select an elite young defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights June 21, 2017 New Avalanche uniforms revealed for 2017-18 season June 21, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announces 2017 home opener Colorado’s season is highlighted by the NHL Global Series — two regular-season games against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, Nov. 10-11. The Avs’ first meeting against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights is Oct. 27 in Las Vegas. The Avs have 26 games against Central Division foes, four fewer than last season. The Avs will play Dallas and St. Louis five times apiece; and Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville and Winnipeg four times each. Colorado will face two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh twice in eight days. The Avs visit the Penguins on Dec. 11 and host the Pens on Dec. 18. The Avalanche’s longest homestand is six games from Dec. 27 to Jan. 6, and their longest road trip is six games from Jan. 22 to Feb. 3 — but the team will return home in the middle of it for the all-star break. 2017-18 Avalanche schedule OCTOBER Day Date Opponent Time Thursday Oct. 5 at NY Rangers 5 p.m. Saturday Oct. 7 at New Jersey 5 p.m. Monday Oct. 9 at Boston 11 a.m. Wednesday Oct. 11 BOSTON 7:30 p.m. Friday Oct. 13 ANAHEIM 7 p.m. Saturday Oct. 14 at Dallas 6 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 17 at Nashville 6 p.m. Thursday Oct. 19 ST. LOUIS 7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 24 DALLAS 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 27 at Vegas 4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 28 CHICAGO 7 p.m. NOVEMBER Thursday Nov. 2 CAROLINA 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 4 at Philadelphia 5 p.m. Sunday Nov. 5 at NY Islanders 4 p.m. *Friday Nov. 10 OTTAWA (Sweden) 12 p.m. *Saturday Nov. 11 at Ottawa (Sweden) 11 a.m. Thursday Nov. 16 WASHINGTON 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 18 at Nashville 6 p.m. Sunday Nov. 19 at Detroit 4 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 22 DALLAS 7 p.m. Friday Nov. 24 at Minnesota 2 p.m. Saturday Nov. 25 CALGARY 8 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 29 WINNIPEG 7:30 p.m. DECEMBER Friday Dec. 1 NEW JERSEY 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 3 DALLAS 6 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 5 BUFFALO 7 p.m. Thursday Dec. 7 at Tampa Bay 5:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 9 at Florida 5 p.m. Monday Dec. 11 at Pittsburgh 5 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 12 at Washington 5 p.m. Thursday Dec. 14 FLORIDA 7 p.m. Saturday Dec. 16 TAMPA BAY 7 p.m. Monday Dec. 18 PITTSBURGH 7 p.m. Thursday Dec. 21 at Los Angeles 8:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 23 at Arizona 6 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 27 ARIZONA 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 29 TORONTO 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 31 NY ISLANDERS 6 p.m. JANUARY Tuesday Jan. 2 WINNIPEG 7 p.m. Thursday Jan. 4 COLUMBUS 7 p.m. Saturday Jan. 6 MINNESOTA 1 p.m. ** BYE WEEK ** Saturday Jan. 13 at Dallas 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 15 ANAHEIM 1 p.m. Thursday Jan. 18 SAN JOSE 7 p.m. Saturday Jan. 20 NY RANGERS 1 p.m. Monday Jan. 22 at Toronto 5 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 23 at Montreal 5:30 p.m. Thursday Jan. 25 at St. Louis 6 p.m. ** NHL ALL-STAR BREAK ** Tuesday Jan. 30 at Vancouver 8 p.m. FEBRUARY Thursday Feb. 1 at Edmonton 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 3 at Winnipeg 5 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 6 SAN JOSE 7 p.m. Thursday Feb. 8 at St. Louis 6 p.m. Saturday Feb. 10 at Carolina 5 p.m. Sunday Feb. 11 at Buffalo 5 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 14 MONTREAL 7:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 16 at Winnipeg 6 p.m. Sunday Feb. 18 EDMONTON 1 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 20 at Vancouver 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 22 at Edmonton 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 24 at Calgary 2 p.m. Monday Feb. 26 VANCOUVER 7 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 28 CALGARY 7:30 p.m. MARCH Friday Mar. 2 MINNESOTA 7 p.m. Sunday Mar. 4 NASHVILLE 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 6 at Chicago 6:30 p.m. Thursday Mar. 8 at Columbus 5 p.m. Saturday Mar. 10 ARIZONA 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 13 at Minnesota 6 p.m. Thursday Mar. 15 at St. Louis 6 p.m. Friday Mar. 16 NASHVILLE 7 p.m. Sunday Mar. 18 DETROIT 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 20 at Chicago 6:30 p.m. Thursday Mar. 22 LOS ANGELES 7 p.m. Saturday Mar. 24 VEGAS 1 p.m. Monday Mar. 26 at Vegas 8 p.m. Wednesday Mar. 28 PHILADELPHIA 8 p.m. Friday Mar. 30 CHICAGO 7 p.m. APRIL [...]
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Edmonton’s Connor McDavid wins first Hart Trophy as NHL MVP
LAS VEGAS — Connor McDavid has won his first Hart Trophy. Hardly anybody in hockey believes it will be his last. The Edmonton captain claimed the award as the NHL’s most valuable player Wednesday night at the league’s postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, the new home of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The league also revealed the results of the Golden Knights’ expansion draft to an arena filled with new fans of the NHL’s 31st franchise. McDavid also won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the league’s most outstanding performer in a vote of his fellow players. The honors capped a remarkable sophomore season for the 20-year-old center, who won the scoring title and led the Oilers back to the Stanley Cup playoffs after an 11-year absence. The former No. 1 pick beat out fellow finalists Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. “I’m so proud to be in Edmonton,” McDavid said. “I’m so proud to be an Oiler, and so proud to play with the guys.” McDavid is the third-youngest player to win the award. Only Crosby and Wayne Gretzky claimed the Hart as teenagers. Boston center Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for the fourth time as the NHL’s best defensive forward, and San Jose’s Brent Burns won his first Norris Trophy as the top defenseman. Toronto center Auston Matthews easily took the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, and Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won his second Vezina Trophy. Nashville’s David Poile was named the NHL’s top executive after the Predators’ first Western Conference title, and Columbus’ John Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Anderson left the Senators during the season to support his wife, Nicholle, in her fight against throat cancer, but returned to become Ottawa’s career victories leader. Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play. Bobrovsky got 25 of the 30 first-place votes to outdistance Braden Holtby and Carey Price after leading the league with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Bobrovsky, the first Russian to win the award twice, and Tortorella played major roles in the Blue Jackets’ revival for the best season in franchise history. Bergeron also won the Selke in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The two-way Bruins star beat out Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and joined Bob Gainey as the only players to win the Selke four times. Bergeron paid tribute to Gainey after the Montreal great presented the award to him. “I think it’s the way that he played the game hard and was always in the right position,” Bergeron said. “Not only him on the ice, but also him off the ice as a role model, as a person, I’ve always respected him for that. It was special to receive that award from him, because he was such an important player for the NHL.” Burns beat out Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the Norris in a duel of two 70-point scorers. Burns doesn’t think offensive numbers alone determine the Norris winner. Related ArticlesJune 21, 2017 Marc-Andre Fleury leads Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft choices June 20, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights may get franchise goalie, young roster June 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick June 19, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs “That’s the way I play the game,” Burns said. “For me to be successful, to help the team, I’ve got to help create offense and get into the plays. If I’m not doing that, if I’m not skating and creating things, then I’m not really doing much out there.” Matthews was the no-brainer choice for the Calder after his 69-point rookie season for the Leafs, who hadn’t had a Calder winner since Brit Selby in 1966. The Arizona-raised center was grateful to accept the award in Las Vegas, where he hopes more desert kids will be inspired by the Golden Knights. “I think it’s going to be great,” Matthews said. “For myself, when the Coyotes moved (to Phoenix), that’s how I got into hockey. Seeing the teams in California kind of encouraged kids growing up to pick up the stick and start playing. (The Golden Knights) will definitely grow the game.” [...]
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