The beloved Rampage visited the Cleveland Monsters this weekend and the big news was about the 5 new players that were signed to Amateur Try-Out contracts making their debuts. Four of them fall under the Avalanche umbrella, Travis Barron, Josh Dickinson, Turner Ottenbreit & Adam Werner, while Austin Poganski was a Blues draftee back in 2014.
SAR 3 – CLE 6
Goals: Ottenbreit, Belzile, Agozzino
Goalies: Martin [L] (12/16, 28 minutes), Werner (8/10, 32 minutes)
PP 1/3, PK 1/1
SAR 4 – CLE 3
Goals: Agozzino (2), Blais, Graves
Goalie: Werner [W] (21/24)
PP 0/2, PK 3/3
Overall this was the kind of mix of casual play with a few guys going hard for jobs next year you expect from a couple of basement-dwellers late in the season. The Monsters had the worst record in the West sewn up weeks ago, the Rampage were formally eliminated on Saturday and now sit last in the Pacific. By points and wins this will be the “best” season the Rampage have had while affiliated with Colorado but they are still guaranteed a losing record and barring a comeback in the final 3 games will finish dead last in the Pacific Division all 3 years.
On to more positive topics, like the new guys…
Travis Barron signed an ELC with the Avs right before his Ottawa 67’s were eliminated in the OHL playoffs and hotfooted it down to San Antonio to join the Rampage last Monday. In Friday’s game he lined up at LW on the shutdown line alongside Felix Girard and Trent Vogelhuber. Right off the bat he fit in both his role and with the speed and physicality of the AHL. Most guys look a little lost at first but he was positionally sound and was able to make defensive plays beyond his experience level. He wasn’t just grinding either, and showed ability to generate offensive chances. Sunday he started with Vogie and Felix again but added some time on the PK where he made a steal and wonderful outlet pass to Aggz for the Rampage’s first goal. In the 2nd period he was moved to the top line with Aggz/Blais and on the 1st shift again made a nice steal and feed to Agozzino for a goal.
Overall, he was the youngster that impressed me as being the most ready for pro hockey next season. We’ll see how that changes against a team like Grand Rapids later in the week but I don’t think it will much. If this is his starting point in pros then bottom 6 NHL potential is definitely on the table for now. Very promising, especially considering he was a 7th round draft choice.
Expect a midweek shift by shift of this https://t.co/ESbyc8DTWj
— Nathan Rudolph (@DNVR_Rudo) April 9, 2018
Be on look out for a SbS of Barron’s 2nd game soon!
Adam Werner signed an ATO a couple weeks ago and finally made his way into a game Friday night in relief of Spencer Martin. Coming in cold when the team defense is in the middle of a meltdown isn’t your optimum NA pro debut scenario. Werner gave up goals, largely not his fault, on 2 of the first 3 shots he faced and in his first 4 minutes but settled in after that to shut the Monsters down for the final 28 minutes of the night. Sunday afternoon he got the start and showed much better, giving up 3 in a Rampage win. I’d characterize the 1st goal as a good shot, the 2nd your typical SA defensive catastrophe and the 3rd he’d probably like another shot at, but was also yet another defensive nightmare.
Thanks to the Swedish Leagues’ schedules we didn’t see Werner last September in rookie camp but he’s improved from two years ago for sure. He’s still raw and I’m sure would benefit from some time with new goalie coach Jussi Parkkila but there’s talent there. The thought has been that he may sign a contract this summer and be loaned to Farjestad in the SHL for next season. Seems like a sound plan but if he and the Avs are open to having him play in North America next year I wouldn’t mind seeing it. He turns 21 in a few weeks so still very young. With his (6’5) size and potential there shouldn’t be any hurry.
Josh Dickinson signed an ELC with the Avs last week after spending his freshman year at Clarkson University. Like the others he headed to San Antonio and signed an ATO last week. He’s a 6’2, 190# undrafted center with some pretty impressive numbers in the NCAA. He was the top freshman goal-scorer in the ECAC and tied for 4th among NCAA frosh with 15. Top center on the team at faceoffs (54%) and led ECAC rookies with 41 blocked shots. ECAC Player of the Month in November with 9 goals. Sounds good!
Dickinson centered a line both games with fellow ATO Austin Poganski on RW and a revolving cast at LW, mainly Klim Kostin on Friday and Conner Bleackley on Sunday. I really liked what I saw from him offensively, developed several good scoring chances and played a stout net-front game. Defensively he looked like he needed some more time learning the system but was fundamentally sound. I think it’s a credit to his skills that he was asked to play the more difficult role of center right away. He’s a player to keep an eye on at Development Camp and Rookie Camp for sure.
Turner Ottenbreit signed an ATO with the Rampage after finishing his overage season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He’s a lanky (6’3, 190#) undrafted defensman that has a bit of a scoring touch with 9G/38A this season. He scored on a nice shot from the point on his 2nd AHL shift, which is nice. Like one would expect, he didn’t play a ton over the weekend but was more solid in both ends than a couple of the Rampage’s regular D’s. He didn’t get turnstiled or wildly out of position that I observed. Like with the others I’m interested in seeing his performance against stronger clubs in the coming week.
Unlike the others, this is a straight-up tryout. He’s neither drafted nor signed so we’ll see what he earns here. I’d like to see him get a Development Camp invite at the very least. We’re taught to be suspicious of production in CHL 20 year old seasons but there’s enough potential to warrant further observation.
Austin Poganski is a Blues prospect so this is a short term thing for us. He’s the oldest of the group and older than quite a few of the regular Rampage forwards. He got an assist on Ottenbreit’s goal and quickly developed some chemistry with Dickinson. I didn’t spend a lot of time checking out his game but from a disinterested perspective he seems like a fine use of a 4th round pick and didn’t look out of place.
Rampage vs Grand Rapids, Thursday 8pm ET
Rampage vs Texas, Friday 8:30pm ET
Rampage at Texas, Saturday 8pm ET
And that’s it, season over and affiliation with San Antonio over. Maybe a lot of other things over too. We can only hope. We’ll have some evaluations and breakdowns of all the important stuff in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
Thanks as always to the San Antonio Rampage for the feature photo and to the AHL for stats and boxscores.