The Avalanche conducted a massive roster trimming over the course of the last couple of days with a series of consecutive cuts of eight on September 26th and seven on September 27th. The roster sits at 29 primed for the veteran portion of preseason and into the regular season which begins in just a week on October 4th. All but one of the cut players were reassigned to Loveland to begin their campaign with the AHL Colorado Eagles, which beings their season in a week as well on the 5th.
Joe Cannata hit waivers earlier in the week and after clearing was officially reassigned to the Eagles on September 24th. Spencer Martin followed in the first wave of cuts with Pavel Francouz in the second. Neither of these moves were a surprise and as it currently stands Francouz holds the only win for the Avalanche in preseason and he enjoyed a strong training camp. All three will be needed for the Eagles at some point and possibly down the road with the big club.
On the defensive side, not as many cuts as expected from in this group because of several injuries and uncertain situations to defensemen in camp. Mason Geertsen, Josh Anderson and Nicolas Meloche were in the first wave with only the latter a bit curious. Meloche only played in one preseason game as questions continue to form on what is the Avalanche’s ultimate plan with him. There didn’t seem to be much interest in him from all parties in this camp and he was dismissed relatively unnoticed.
Sergei Boikov missed all of camp and several practices with a minor injury but still made it into two preseason contests before hitting the second wave of cuts. He looks like the year missed hasn’t set him back and could be a big part of the Eagles blueline. Ryan Graves was also a pleasant surprise in camp and played in four games before heading to the Eagles. He scored a goal and assist plus played a mostly steady and smart game. At this point it seems like Graves will see his NHL debut this season.
The veteran forwards Andrew Agozzino and Scott Kosmachuk were cut fairly early and didn’t get much of a look in games, thus seem ticketed for leadership in the AHL. One of the youngest players in Travis Barron only got one game but wasn’t cut last week as the coaching staff wanted to see him in practice a few more times.
AJ Greer was the surprise of the first wave of cuts this week as many had hoped he would remain in the mix to make the Avalanche roster going into his third year as a professional. He has a solid camp by showing consistency and responsibility in a fourth line type role but the organization just doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. It feels like barring a spectacular season in the AHL with an early callup, unfortunately the NHL path is ending for Greer.
The second wave of forward cuts were all the high upside younger players who participated in the fourth preseason game. Ty Lewis, Igor Shvyrev and Martin Kaut seemed destined to begin their seasons in the AHL but each showed reason to give that thought pause. Kaut in particular improved week by week and could find himself on a steep upward trajectory once he gets fully comfortable. Shvyrev might have the highest skill level of the bunch but has the furthest to go in adapting his game. Still, the flashes of puck skill and tenacity he showed were tantalizing. Lewis had the most consistently good camp among the prospects and was rewarded with the only Avalanche goal in the fourth game. How the organization handles his development path moving forward is something to watch very closely.
Cody Bass was also released from his PTO. The coaches gave him a good look on the penalty kill especially but there was no fit or benefit he could bring the organization.
Credit to the Colorado Eagles for the photo