As what has been the case all preseason the Colorado Avalanche made yet another modest roster adjustment ahead of their sixth and final preseason game. This time trimming another five players with just a handful of cuts left to go.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 8, 2021
First of all, Jayson Megna and Dennis Gilbert were placed on waivers at noon. The assumption is they will be reassigned to the Colorado Eagles when they clear tomorrow and therefore are not included in the current roster count.
Since Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut are still on their final year of waiver exemption they were sent to the Eagles in the cut. Neither really had a great chance to make the roster as it is but hopefully that elusive callup can materialize for both.
And finally one of the Professional Try-Outs Artem Anisimov was let go sans contract. It started becoming quite clear when he wasn’t playing much in the preseason games he drew into.
Now where the roster stands depends entirely on how many players the Avalanche want to carry. They have been reluctant in the past to hold the full 23 in favor of banking cap space so the expectation is we won’t see eight defensemen or 14 forwards.
Assuming Devon Toews, who seems like he’s nearing a return, and Pavel Francouz begin the season on Injured Reserve then the Avalanche technically only need to make one cut to get from the current 26 to the 23 man roster limit. There may not be enough salary cap available for 25 total bodies however. Accounting for the bare minimum 22 players (which includes both Toews and Francouz since neither is expected on Long Term Injured Reserve for cap relief so their cap hits must be counted) then there’s approximately $2.25M left for extras on the roster which is roughly enough for two additional players for a total active roster of 22 (once both Francouz and Toews are on IR) should the Avalanche choose to go that direction. To put it in a nutshell, two more cuts are likely coming.
On the defense those still around are Justin Barron, who has impressed the coaching staff, depth mainstay Jacob MacDonald plus the last standing PTO Jack Johnson. It seems Johnson has the inside track to a contract but that has not been executed yet. Barron and MacDonald feel like callup options from the Eagles though the latter would need to clear waivers.
For the forwards the roster is already down to 13 with just presumably Sampo Ranta as the current extra forward, which may be in perception more than reality. The team does not have to make a cut here if they choose not to. Ranta (or Alex Newhook) could make the team and fit under the cap comfortably if the organization is ready to keep an extra young player around.
Since third goaltender Jonas Johansson is already counted on the roster and cap calculations there’s no decision there with Francouz on the shelf.
Teams must submit a cap compliant roster by 5pm ET on Monday, October 11th. So it is easy to see the final decision will need to be made quickly after the final preseason game on Saturday.
Prediction: Jack Johnson gets a one-year contract for under 1M and makes the team as the extra defenseman. Both Sampo Ranta and Alex Newhook make the opening night roster but one will get cut and quietly sent to the Eagles when Devon Toews is ready to go which then makes Kurtis MacDermid the extra forward.