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Grubauer to Start Second Avalanche Preseason Game

Goaltender will make his first appearance since being acquired in a trade in the offseason

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche will get its first look at Philipp Grubauer on Saturday as the team's new goaltender will get the start at the Minnesota Wild in the Avs' second preseason game of the new campaign.

"It's going to be exciting, first time strapping on an (Avalanche) jersey," Grubauer said following the team's practice on Friday at Family Sports Center. "That's going to be awesome."

Grubauer was acquired from the Washington Capitals in a draft-night trade on June 22 in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2017 draft (47th overall). Colorado also received Brooks Orpik in the deal, but the defenseman was soon bought out by the club. 

The Rosenheim, Germany, native's last outing came in Game 2 of the Capitals' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 15. He appeared in 35 regular-season contests last year for Washington and posted a 15-10-3 record, 2.34 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and three shutouts. 

Grubauer played in 101 career games for the Caps over the past six seasons.

"I'm trying to stick with the system that I learned," he said. "I had success in Washington, and I want to bring that here. I want to play the same way here." 

Video: Grubauer on preseason games and being with the Avs

Saturday's outing is the start of a stretch that will see the Avalanche play every other day before wrapping up the preseason on Sept. 30 at the Dallas Stars. The contest in Minnesota is the second of six exhibitions Colorado will play before the main campaign.

"First couple preseason games, you're always trying to figure out the way you play again," Grubauer said. "Getting adjusted to game speed I think is the main component here, because you don't get that too much in practice. You can practice so much, but game situations are different. I think just learning from situation to situation."

Another new netminder to the Avalanche organization will also dress on Saturday as Pavel Francouz will be Grubauer's backup for the contest at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

A member of the Czech Republic's 2018 Olympic men's ice hockey team, Francouz has spent the past three seasons playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. It's not known if Francouz will see any game action against the Wild.

Video: Bednar gives an update on the Avs after practice

Most of the skaters that participated in the first on-ice session at Friday's practice will play in the preseason contest at Minnesota, according to head coach Jared Bednar. Among those players with NHL experience in that group are Sven Andrighetto, Mark Barberio, Samuel Girard, Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev, Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson.

Avs 2018 first-round draft pick Martin Kaut could also make his NHL preseason debut at the Wild.

"We'll make a couple changes, a handful of guys. (Andrew) Agozzino is going in and (Nicolas) Meloche will go in," Bednar said. "A couple guys will come out from that group, but for the most part it's the first group from today."

No matter who is playing versus Minnesota, Bednar is expecting more out of his club than what it showed on Tuesday in the 2018-19 preseason opener--a 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. 

"If you look at the lineup that we're playing, and the guys that we have left here, they're all pros," Bednar said. "They are either going to be here or up the road in Loveland. Most of these guys have been through a couple camps with us. The first group, we had our [Nathan] MacKinnon line playing and then we had a lot of kids playing as well that are new to the organization. I expect this group to tighten things up a little bit going into Minny tomorrow night." 


Defenseman Sergei Boikov participated in his first practice of the preseason after skating on his own for the past four days. Boikov wore a red, non-contact jersey during the first on-ice session and alternated into drills with the defensive units. 

Boikov played in each of the Avalanche's three games at the Vegas Rookie Faceoff on Sept. 8-11 and finished with two assists. He was held out of the four-day training camp and ensuing practices due to a muscle strain, according to Bednar.

The Khabarovsk, Russia, native joined Conor Timmins for a shooting session on the goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Spencer Martin following Friday's practice. Bednar did not have a new update on Timmins (concussion), who has yet to take part in a team skate with the club.

Boikov missed the entire 2017-18 campaign after hurting his shoulder in a preseason game and having season-ending shoulder surgeries. Timmins has been out since suffering a concussion late last season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.


Defenseman David Warsofsky has yet to skate with the team this season, and Bednar gave an update on his status following Friday's practice.

"He's getting a second opinion on some of his tests that he had run during camp up in Boston," Bednar said. "He'll be back to join the team with hopefully some good news."

Warsofsky appeared in 16 games with Colorado last season, recording five assists. He also played in four of the club's six Stanley Cup Playoff contests.


Goaltender Philipp Grubauer on preparing for the regular season: "Every second you get out there on the ice with your teammates is good because you learn from them. It's going from practices to games and adapting what they do in practice and learn from them in games."

Defenseman Mark Alt on his offseason training: "Beginning of the summer, you're more working on skill stuff, positional stuff. But halfway through you start to realize that you have to be in shape for camp. As you can see from watching, this is a fast camp. There is a lot of testing and you had to be in shape in order to compete. That last month I was definitely kicking it in gear to get ready and be in shape."

Video: Mark Alt talks about his training after practice

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