CENTENNIAL, Colo.--Training camp signifies the start of a new season and with that comes a fresh slate for players to display how they improved over the summer and showcase their skills to management and coaches.
Both the players that donned burgundy and blue in 2018-19 and the additions to the Colorado Avalanche roster got their second chance at demonstrating their abilities on Day 2 of the 2019 training camp on Saturday.
With many skilled players attending, the depth of the organization is showing with a stronger element of competition at Colorado's 2019 camp than possibly been in years past.
At the forward position, the Avs have 17 skaters that saw National Hockey League action in 2018-19, as well as a handful of prospects that are pushing to make the jump up to the League this season.
"We have talked in length about our depth or lack of depth at the forward position in some of the years past," head coach Jared Bednar said. "We would like to be able to establish it with a stronger top-six and adding guys like [Andre Burakovsky] and [Joonas] Donskoi, I think we can do that."
One forward that mix is part of that is Sheldon Dries, who made his NHL debut on Opening Night last season and played in 40 games with the Avalanche throughout the course of the year. He also played in 25 contests in the American Hockey League with the Colorado Eagles.
Video: Sheldon Dries gets ready for Year 2 with Avs
"We are all part of the same team, but we are all battling for a limited amount of spots," said Dries. "That is part of the game, that is what you kind of dream of, and beating someone out is a goal here but at the end of the day we are all teammates. We are all trying to get the same goals but someone's got to win so make sure its yourself."
The competition is also there on the blue line with 20 rear guards at camp, including four returning defensemen who played at least 71 games with Colorado in 2018-19. That doesn't include Cale Makar, who will get his first taste of regular-season NHL outings after playing in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's a tight D-core here, tough to break the roster," said Anton Lindholm, who has played in 62 NHL games in his career. "Everyone elevates their game when you know it's hard competition, that is just the nature in athletes I think."
Sunday will mark the third day of on-ice work with the first session beginning at 8:15 a.m. and the second starting at 10:25 a.m. at Family Sports Center. All practices are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
NICHUSHKIN ARRIVES IN DENVER
Valeri Nichushkin should be on the ice on Sunday for the third day of camp after he did his medical and physical testing on Saturday.
The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native was drafted in the first round (No. 10 overall) in 2013 and played in 223 NHL games with the Dallas Stars before signing with the Avalanche as a free agent on Aug. 19, 2019.
"He did all his medical evaluation this morning so we are waiting on some of his results, make sure he is all good to go, and he should be on the ice [Sunday]," said Bednar.
He was delayed in his arrival while getting his immigration resolved.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The Avs have two more days of their training camp before the preseason schedule opens against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at Pepsi Center. The team will then host the Dallas Stars on Thursday before hitting the road for a contest at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Colorado will play a total of six exhibition outings, with a game at home and away against each the Golden Knights, Stars and Wild.
Saturday's units were the same as they were on Friday, but Group 2 took the ice for practice prior to Group 1.
Tyson Jost - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Matt Calvert - Vladislav Kamenev - Jayson Megna
Sheldon Dries - T.J. Tynan - Martin Kaut
Ty Lewis - Shane Bowers - Michael Joly
Sasha Mutala - Luka Burzan - Alex Beaucage
Nikita Zadorov - Conor Timmins
Bowen Byram - Calle Rosen
Dan Renouf - Mark Alt
Anton Lindholm - Peter Tischke
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Andre Burakovsky
Matt Nieto - J.T. Compher - Colin Campbell
A.J. Greer - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Logan O'Connor
Igor Shvyrev - Josh Dickinson - Nick Henry
Travis Barron - Brandon Saigeon - Erik Condra
Samuel Girard - Cale Makar
Ryan Graves - Mark Barberio
Jacob MacDonald - Nicolas Meloche
Josh Anderson - Kevin Connauton
Sasha Larocque - Kevin Davis