News and notes from Colorado Avalanche practice.
The Colorado Avalanche has two days left to prepare for opening night on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild, and that included trimming the roster down to the league-mandated 23-man list by 3 p.m. MT today.
The Avs got ahead of the deadline by announcing that forward Jack Skille—who was on a professional tryout with the club—had been signed to a one-year contract this morning, ahead of the team’s 11 a.m. practice.
“It was a lot of hard work and a lot of focus, preparation for that one,” Skille said. “[It’s] not easy going into a camp without a contract. A lot of question marks. I learned a lot though. I learned a lot about controlling what I can control, and that’s just trying to stay healthy and working hard every day in practice and treating every practice like it’s a game.”
Sitting at 25 rostered players, Colorado also revealed that young forward Dennis Everberg had been reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and Jesse Winchester (post-concussion symptoms) had been placed on the injured-reserve list.
“I like the energy that Jack is bringing to the team,” head coach Patrick Roy said after practice. “He understands his role. He’s going to play on the fourth line, and he accepts it. It’s good for us. Last year, we talked a lot at the end of the season… about the lack of depth, and I think he’s going to help us a lot.”
With the squad finalized, one notable name remaining in the lineup is 2015 first-round draft pick Mikko Rantanen. The 18-year-old Finnish forward had a good showing through training camp and the preseason, earning a spot with Colorado despite getting his first taste of North American hockey less than a month prior.
“Things happen faster and it’s a smaller rink,” Rantanen said of the change from European ice. “It’s more intensive, the game. I really like it.
“I was in warmup and Joe came and [said] ‘Mikko, can you talk a little bit?’ Of course, when we walked the hallway [I] was a little bit nervous. But it was good and he just congratulated me. Now [I] just have to keep working.”
TUESDAY'S PRACTICE LINEUP
Every single player on Colorado’s 23-man roster was out on the ice and ready to go during Tuesday’s practice at Family Sports Center, including rear guard Erik Johnson and center Nathan MacKinnon—both of whom missed Monday’s on-ice session.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog was again wearing a red non-contact sweater.
Working on zone drills and breakouts, the team skated in what Roy said should be potential line combinations moving forward:
Blake Comeau—Matt Duchene—Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog—Nathan MacKinnon—Alex Tanguay
Mikko Rantanen—Carl Soderberg—Borna Rendulic
Cody McLeod—John Mitchell—Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin—Erik Johnson
Nate Guenin—Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov—Nick Holden
Brad Stuart—Brandon Gormley