The Colorado Avalanche's preparation for the 2016-17 season continues today with the inaugural Rookie Showcase at the Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster, Colorado.
Three contests will take place over the next three days, with the Avs, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks each facing the other one time. Colorado opens the Showcase today at 2 p.m. against San Jose.
The format of the contests will mirror regular-season NHL play: three periods, full intermissions, 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout, if needed. Tournament tiebreakers will come down to goal differential, then goals for and then a coin flip.
The weekend series gives Avalanche coaching staff and management a chance to evaluate individual players and their overall development in a game-scenario environment. Players of all levels from within the Avalanche system will participate, including three guys with prior NHL experience (Chris Bigras, Mikko Rantanen and Nikita Zadorov), 15 other Colorado prospects, two members of the San Antonio Rampage and five skaters on amateur tryouts.
"Obviously, we're really excited about the tournament we're having with San Jose and Anaheim. Any chance you get to get an evaluation within a peer group I think is a real positive," said Avs assistant general manager Craig Billington. "For us to host it this year, we were excited about that opportunity and feel very fortunate to be a part of it."
No matter which club is playing, the event is sure to boast a lot of teamwork and a healthy level of competitive spirit."When you get a game instead of a practice, it's a pressure situation really early in the year, and that's where you can showcase yourself," netminder Spencer Martin said of the event. "You get to play with these guys as a team instead of just a tryout, so it's going to be really fun. You get to showcase yourself in front of a lot of people. It will be awesome."
"I think you're going to see pure competition, which is I think really important at a high pace and tempo," Billington added.
The Avalanche continues the prospect competition on Sunday versus the Ducks at 1 p.m., while San Jose and Anaheim concludes the tournament when they play each other on Monday at 2 p.m.
Every game of the tournament is free to attend and open to the public, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.