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Andrighetto Making Avs Debut

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The NHL Trade Deadline was a whirlwind day for newly-acquired Colorado Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto.

Swapped to the Avs from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Andreas Martinsen, Andrighetto had to quickly pack his bags and get to Denver.

"Wednesday night, I had to pack my things and that same night I had to fly to Chicago," he said of the experience of being traded from the team that selected him in the third round (86th overall) of the 2013 draft. "In Chicago, I slept there and the next morning I flew to Denver."

Video: Sven Andrighetto joins the Avalanche

Although Colorado has played two games since the 23-year-old right wing was brought into the organization, Andrighetto was forced to wait for the team and his American employment paperwork in Denver.

So when the Avs began arriving at Pepsi Center in the afternoon for Sunday's evening contest against the St. Louis Blues, Andrighetto finally got a chance to start introducing himself to his new squad.

"It was different, for sure," he said ahead of Sunday's tilt. "It's the first time I'm meeting these guys, so it's exciting."

Not everyone on the roster is a new face. Defenseman Mark Barberio was a teammate of Andrighetto's, both with the Canadiens and the St. John's IceCaps in the American Hockey League, and more than that, a friend.

"I knew a couple of guys. I've played against them," said Andrighetto. "It's definitely exciting, especially with Mark. I lived with him last year, and we were in close contact even when he was here already and I was still in Montreal. I know [Mikhail] Grigorenko from junior and same with [Nathan] MacKinnon. A couple of familiar faces, but most of the guys are new."

After the awkwardness of the introductions was over and media responsibilities were met, Andrighetto was given leave to start preparing for his first game in a burgundy and blue sweater. Although he spent time in Montreal playing on a bottom trio logging few minutes, tonight he's been coupled with Matt Duchene and Mikko Rantanen on the club's second line.

Video: Jared Bednar gives the Avs' lineup vs. the Blues

"Throw him right in the fire and play him with Duchene and Rantanen," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said his plan for the forward. "I think he's a hungry guy. He's happy to be here and looking forward to the opportunity. So hopefully he can give that line a little bit of a spark with some energy."

For Andrighetto, playing his game means playing a fast one.

"Speed. I like to be creative in the offensive zone, play with the puck, have some fun and hopefully score some goals," he said of what he's hoping to bring to Colorado. "I try to be reliable in the defensive side but for sure try to bring in the speed."

"Our scouts have watched him a lot. I don't know him that well," Bednar said. "I know that he has good ability. I've watched some video on him, and he's a hardworking guy and his details are pretty tight. So I expect him to come in and play his game tonight. We don't want to throw too much at him, a lot like the [J.T.] Compher deal. Let him go play and just see how he responds to it."

For the new addition to the team, the future starts with tonight's contest. After that, he can evaluate where he's been and where he's going.

"I don't want to look too far ahead. Right now, I'm here and we have a month left of hockey here, for sure," Andrighetto said. "It's a long time for myself to show what I can do, and I'm going to get some good looks, I believe. I'm excited to play.

"It's been an experience, for sure. Obviously, starting the year being on waivers right at the start of the season and playing 20 games with St. John's. Played well down there, got the call-up and ever since I stayed up in Montreal. My role in Montreal was a little bit different than I had in juniors and the AHL. I was playing on the fourth line, a couple minutes a night. [I try to] always stay positive and work hard, but I'm really happy to be here.

"Obviously, the team is not doing great, and sometimes for you guys it's tough to understand why you're excited to get here, but I'm really excited because I think it's a huge opportunity for myself to show what I can do. I'm probably going to play a little bit more than I used to in Montreal."

 

SMITH IN NET

Jeremy Smith is getting his second-straight start between the pipes at Pepsi Center as the Avs host the Blues on Sunday.

His last game in Denver was a decisive 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 25. He also took over for starting netminder Calvin Pickard on Saturday in Winnipeg, making 10 stops in relief in the 6-1 loss to the Jets.

That result was hardly Pickard's to bear, according to head coach Jared Bednar.

"I think he's probably frustrated a little bit with the way things are going, and certainly last night we weren't sharp and we weren't prepared to play the way that we needed to play and he kind of suffered the consequences of our team game there," the bench manager said on Sunday. "We're going back with Smith because he went in, he battled hard. I like the way he played. He's played well for us recently, and it's on a back-to-back and he's going to get a chance to come in again and play a second home game and hopefully get the same result he did last time here."

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