CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche officially got back to work on Friday as the team opened its 2018 training camp at Family Sports Center.
Colorado had 54 players report to camp, with the squad being broken up into two groups during the club's four-day event. The first group took the ice at 8:45 a.m., while the second began skating at 10:45 a.m. Each session was scheduled for an hour and a half and featured even-strength drills before ending with a skating test.
"I felt practice went well. You could see some jitters early on, but I think we settled in," said J.T. Compher, who is at his third Avs camp. "Some hard, good solid drills and then got a skating test at the end to make sure everyone was working on conditioning throughout the summer."
The Avs also had an off-ice workout during the three-hour period that is allotted to each NHL team in the collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players' Association.
Following a tough day on the ice and in the gym to begin 2018-19, the Avs players now look to quickly recover. The club has three more days of training camp before starting the preseason on Tuesday at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"We know it's going to be a hard training camp like it always should be," said Mikko Rantanen, a veteran of four Colorado camps now. "Good for the team too, to go really hard for three hours and then take the rest of the day off. I think everyone is ready."
The Avalanche's 2018 first-round draft pick (No. 16 overall) skated with the second group and was on a line with sophomores Tyson Jost and Alexander Kerfoot during 5-on-5 drills.
"I think step one is evaluate him here and give him some opportunity with our guys," Bednar said of Kaut. "We all know he's a big time talent. I like what he did in a couple of games in Vegas. I'm anxious to give him a shot here."
While it remains unseen if Kaut will crack Colorado's NHL roster, he likely won't be too far away as he could begin the season in the American Hockey League with the Colorado Eagles in Loveland.
"There is talk that he would be going up the road if he didn't make our team," Bednar said.
Defensemen Patrik Nemeth and Nikita Zadorov participated in the day's on-ice activities, but neither donned regular practice sweaters. The blueliners wore red, non-contact jerseys as they both continue to recover from offseason shoulder surgery.
Tyson Barrie didn't participate in Friday's training camp activities after pulling a muscle during the club's physical testing on Thursday.
"He has a lower-body injury from some of the testing we did yesterday," Bednar said. "I haven't talked to the medical guys so I don't know exactly. I just know he wasn't going to skate this morning."
Defensemen Sergei Boikov, Nicolas Meloche and David Warsofsky also didn't skate on the first day of camp.
Saturday's session is going to look similar to that of Friday, except with the two groups switching times.
Group 2 will be on the ice from 8:45-10:15 a.m., while Group 1 is scheduled to skate from 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Center J.T. Compher on the first day of training camp: "Definitely a lot of excitement. A lot has been talked about the group that we have in this locker room. I think going into Day 1, there is a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and we're looking forward to the rest of camp and the season."
Right Wing Mikko Rantanen on the Avs' mindset this season: "Obviously our goal is to get into the playoffs again, but not just be happy with that. We want to go deeper in the playoffs, go through the first, second rounds. You never know what is going to happen there. We want to get there and go deeper. That is our goal."
Head Coach Jared Bednar on the skating tests: "I don't have all the testing numbers yet, but I know this, the stuff that I've looked at from the rookie camp guys, the guys that are coming in now, our numbers are [going in a positive direction] the last three years I've been here."
IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Video: Coach Bednar after the first day of training camp
Video: Rantanen discusses the first day of camp
Video: Compher previews the new season
TRAINING CAMP ROSTER: By Number | By Position
Landeskog - MacKinnon - Rantanen
Calvert - Compher - O'Connor
Lewis - Shvyrev - Kosmachuk\
Saigeon - Beaudin - Henry
Nantel - Dickinson - Boucher
Zadorov - Lindholm
Nemeth - Cole
Graves - Ottenbreit
Kerfoot - Jost - Kaut
Nieto - Soderberg - Bourque
Andrighetto - Kamenev - Wilson
Greer - Dries - Agozzino
Downing - Toninato - Bass - Barron
Girard - Johnson
Alt - Barberio
Geertsen - Anderson
*All seven defensemen rotated partners during drills