The Colorado Avalanche announced today that 22-year-old forward Borna Rendulic has been recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL.
"He'll be here tonight. He'll play tonight," said head coach Patrick Roy. "Rendulic's been playing really well. According to Dean [Chynoweth], he's been really solid there."
|Borna Rendulic |
When Rendulic takes the ice tonight in Denver, it will be more than another first NHL game for another Avalanche prospect, which is special in its own right. It will mark the first time that a player born and trained in the country of Croatia has skated in an NHL game.
The distinction is one that has been on the radar for some time for the young forward from Zagreb, as Rendulic was the first Croatian-born player to sign an NHL contract and then the first to also play professional hockey in North America when his season opened with the Monsters.
Rendulic had a strong training camp with Colorado, staying with the club until the final rounds of roster reductions. Since then, Rendulic has put up four goals and three assists through 21 games with Lake Erie, adding 39 shots for good measure.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward spent his previous two seasons playing for HPK Hameenlinna in the SM-liiga in Finland. He finished his tenure there with 19 goals and 25 assists in 94 contests.
A rash of injuries has decimated the Colorado Avalanche this season, with 134 man-games having been lost entering tonight’s match. This evolving situation has been the catalyst for Colorado’s fluid roster.
Rendulic is the 10th Monsters player to come up to support the Avalanche this year and will be the ninth to play when he dresses tonight against the Nashville Predators.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center.
Varlamov Out Indefinitely
That pesky groin of Semyon Varlamov’s just won’t stay healed, and the culprit now has the Avalanche goaltender sidelined for at least a couple weeks. Varlamov had just returned from his second absence due to the trouble-area, playing both games on the most recent road trip.
Yet something didn’t feel right in practice Monday, and the 26-year-old Russian left early to investigate.
“He had an MRI and they could see that there’s a groin problem and they think [he’ll be out] a couple weeks,” said Roy. “That’s all I can say for now.”
Varlamov’s issues with this recurring ailment has paved the way for Calvin Pickard to see repeated time at the NHL level, a strong positive to come out of an up and down season to date. Eschewing the negative, Roy likes to focus on good things like that when looking ahead.
“I try to be positive. Maybe because it’s the way it was in junior, you get used to it,” he said. “You have the lineup you have, and you have to find a way to win with the lineup that you have. That’s what we’re going to try to do tonight.”
Varlamov has played in just 15 games this year, going 4-6-5 with a 3.22 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Pickard, now in his third stint with the Avs, is 3-4-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He’s won his last three games with the Monsters as well, and will be starting tonight against Nashville.