Colorado Avalanche prospects are taking a trip down to Scottsdale this weekend to compete in the 2021 Arizona Rookie Faceoff from Sept. 17-20. The team's three exhibition games will be streamed on ColoradoAvalanche.com (blackouts apply).
After hosting and winning the inaugural Avalanche Rookie Showcase in 2016, this will be the fifth tournament that Colorado prospects have attended.
In addition to the Avalanche, this year's contenders for the Rookie Faceoff tournament include four teams from the Pacific Division (Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights) and one other from the Central Division (Arizona Coyotes). Each club will play three outings over the course of four days. The contests are set to be a comparable format to a standard NHL game, including three, 20-minute periods with full stoppages and penalties.
The tournament will run from Sept. 17-20 at Scottsdale Ice Den and Gila River Arena. The Avalanche opens the tournament against the Kings on Friday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. MT. Following a practice day on Saturday, the Avs then play the Ducks on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. MT. The team's final game will be against the Sharks on Monday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. MT.
All Colorado matchups at the Arizona rookie tournament will be streamed live for free at ColoradoAvalanche.com. The games will only be available in the home market of the participating teams.
Although there was not a Rookie Faceoff last year due to health concerns, in 2019, the same six teams competed against one another at the 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff. The Sharks prevailed, wrapping up the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record after beating Arizona, Vegas and Los Angeles. The Avs finished 1-2 in 2019, falling to Los Angeles and Arizona but coming out on top against Vegas.
The Avs 28-man roster for the exhibition contests this year comprises of rookies, prospects, amateur tryouts and American Hockey League contract holders. Many of the players are signed and are anticipated to play within the Colorado system in 2021-22, either with the Avalanche or in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles.
A handful of the Avs appearing in the exhibition games this weekend have competed in the Rookie Faceoff tournament before. A total of six players skated in the 2019 tournament in Anaheim in addition to goaltender Justus Annunen who was on the 2018 roster.
Also included on the tournament's roster are previous Colorado first-round picks Justin Barron, Bowen Bryam, Alex Newhook and Oskar Olausson. Selected 28th overall this past summer's draft, Olausson is the only member of the Avs 2021 draft class to take part in this year's development camp and rookie tournament.
One player to watch alongside recent NHL debut-ers, Newhook and Byram, is Sampo Ranta who was drafted 78th overall by the Avalanche in the 2018 NHL Draft. Ranta made his NHL debut during Game 1 of Colorado's second-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights where he saw 7:47 in ice time in 12 shifts helping the Avalanche to 7-1 victory. After getting a taste of the NHL with the Avs, Ranta is excited and ready to work for a roster spot for the 2021-22 season.
Due to a smaller venue, capacity restrictions and current public health concerns, only limited tickets for the exhibition games are available. Ticket information can be found https://www.nhl.com/coyotes/tickets/rookie.
Before heading to Scottsdale, the Colorado rookies will practice on Thursday at 11 a.m. MT at Family Sports Center. This practice is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.
Thursday, Sept. 16
Rookies practice at Family Sports - 11 a.m. MT
Rookies depart for Arizona
Friday, Sept. 17
Rookie Tournament Game vs. Los Angeles (Scottsdale Ice Den) - 4 p.m. MT
Saturday, Sept. 18
Rookies practice at Scottsdale Ice Den - 10 a.m. MT
Sunday, Sept. 19
Rookie Tournament Game at Anaheim (Scottsdale Ice Den) - 5 p.m. MT
Monday, Sept. 20
Rookie Tournament game vs. San Jose (Scottsdale Ice Den) - 10 a.m. MT
Rookies fly to Denver