Andrew Agozzino has had previous stints with the Colorado Avalanche, but this time around feels different.
He's not worried about if he's going to do enough when he gets his chance on the ice like he did in his 10 prior NHL games--his debut in 2014-15 and nine-game run in 2015-16.
The 28-year-old has more perspective now and knows what he needs to do to be successful and help Colorado win. He'll aim to play the offensive game that he's known for and add a spark for the Avalanche, as the club hosts the Vegas Golden Knights this evening at Pepsi Center.
"When you're younger, you come in and everything seems a little faster, a little more amplified," Agozzino said to ColoradoAvalanche.com. "I think just being a little more mature now, I can sit back and have a broader spectrum of the view. Just play my game.
"Earlier when I was called up when I was younger, I would try to run around and be too energetic. I just need to focus on playing my game and doing what I do that got me here."
His call-up on Sunday from the Colorado Eagles was more than deserving. An American Hockey League All-Star, Agozzino leads the team and ranks tied for fourth in the AHL with 50 points (22 goals and 28 assists) in 48 games.It's the second straight season that the Kleinburg, Ontario, native has reached the 20-goal mark and the fourth time since the Avalanche first signed the forward to an AHL contract with the Lake Erie Monsters for the 2012-13 campaign.
"I've had some good chemistry with some linemates down there, and it's led to some good success," Agozzino said of his time with the Eagles. "I've slowly tried to work on my game, get better all the time. It's prepared me for this opportunity."
Video: Andrew Agozzino on joining the Avs
Head coach Jared Bednar said Agozzino's offensive prowess is one of the reasons why he got the call to make his Avs season debut on Monday night. Another is his dependable play in all three zones.
"He's been making plays down there, 5-on-5 and the power play," Bednar said. "He's a trusted two-way guy. Kills penalties. Kind of a jack of all trades. He's a smart player, intelligent, plays both sides of the puck, and that's what we need. We need trustworthy guys here, and he's another one of those guys."In a small sample size, Agozzino's offense has had some carry over to the NHL level. He's registered three assists in 10 career contests with the Avalanche despite seeing limited ice time.
Bednar said Agozzino's ice time tonight will depend how the game is going for the team and how the 5-foot-10, 187-pound attacker plays.
Video: Bednar before the Avs host the Golden Knights
He is expected to start the contest against the defending Western Conference champions as the fourth line center between Sven Andrighetto and former Eagles teammate A.J. Greer, who is second on Colorado's AHL squad in scoring with 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists).
Agozzino is excited for the opportunity to prove himself again and aims to bring energy and enthusiasm against Vegas.
"I'm going to go and earn every minute that I get," Agozzino said. "Just really try and help this team, whatever that role might be. I'm not going to change my game to be any different than who I am. I'm going to be who I am with the Eagles as well and that will translate up here."
SPECIAL TEAMS CHANGES
The Avalanche mixed up its power-play units at morning skate in an attempt to generate more chances while with the extra man.
Among the notable changes was splitting up the group of Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. Landeskog and Rantanen are on one unit while MacKinnon is on another.
"It's just trying to get something going. It hasn't been good lately," Bednar said. "Not capitalizing on key opportunities at key times in games. We can't sit still. Games are too important. We can't sit still if it's not working."
Colorado has recently done the same thing on the penalty kill and hasn't allowed a goal on seven straight opponent power plays.
Forward Colin Wilson wore a regular practice jersey and appeared to be a full participant at the team's morning skate.
Bednar said Wilson, who hasn't played since suffering an upper-body injury on Feb. 10 at the Boston Bruins, won't play this evening but could possibly return to the club's lineup for Wednesday's contest versus the Winnipeg Jets.
Mark Barberio was once again a full participant in the team's pre-game practice and is available for Bednar's deployment. The defenseman was activated from injured reserve on Saturday after missing eight games with a head injury.
Bednar did not have anything new to report on Ian Cole's recovery from an upper body injury.