The Avalanche will begin their season on Wednesday night as they will raise the banner and host the Chicago Blackhawks. But, with a new season comes new players, so what will the team look like on opening night and into the first couple of games this season?
No Landeskog to Start
Avs captain, Gabriel Landeskog missed the last couple of months of last season before he came in and led his team to a Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, he is going to miss some time again to start this season. There hasn’t been much information given other than that it is a lower body injury. Landy is currently doing off-ice workouts but has not resumed skating and there is no definite time table for when the captain could return. This is going to be a huge loss for the Avalanche as not only will they lose a fantastic player but ultimately they lose their heart and soul leader.
Familiar Faces on Defense
The top six for the Avalanche defensively won’t look any different to returning fans. Returning on the top pair are stars Cale Makar and Devon Toews. It is expected that Josh Manson and Bowen Byram will play the middle pair. By the way, be on the lookout for a Byram breakout season. The fourth overall pick of the 2019 draft continues to improve season after season and is looking to cement himself as a reliable and consistent defenseman. That leaves the bottom pair of veteran Erik Johnson and Sammy Girard, who will look to contribute to arguably one of the best defenses in the National Hockey League.
Fresh Faces up Front
There will be some new names in the offensive attack this season as Evan Rodrigues was signed in September and forwards Anton Blidh, Lukas Sedlak, and Ben Meyers have made the opening night roster. Rodrigues was fantastic in the pre-season, scoring 1 goal and adding 2 helpers. He created opportunities for himself and the other players around him. As for the others, it was no surprise to see Ben Meyers make the lineup. He played in 5 games last year, and looked solid in those performances. He will most likely slot in with the 4th lin and it will be interesting to see what he can do in the regular season.
What Will the Lines Look Like?
So with that, it leads us to the big question – What will the lines look like to start? While Nichushkin is healthy and recovered from his foot surgery, forward Darren Helm does not look like he will be ready to go and J.T. Compher has been in a no-contact jersey for the last few days. Mackinnon is day-to-day for now, but it sounds like he will most likely play on Wednesday night.
Lehkonen Mackinnon Rantanen
Rodrigues Newhook Nichushkin
Meyers Compher O’Connor
Cogliano Sedlak Blidh
Who’s ready for some hockey?