DENVER -- Jamie McGinn
will be wearing a new uniform and a new number tonight when he makes his Colorado Avalanche
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound left wing, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks
on Monday, has traded in the No. 64 he wore with the Sharks for parts of four seasons for No. 11, which he'll don against the Columbus Blue Jackets
on Thursday at the Pepsi Center.
"Sixty-four was a training camp number," McGinn said after Thursday morning's practice. "I never picked that number and I didn't want that number. It was just a number that they gave me and I wasn't able to switch it. Every (previous) number I've worn has been a double-digit, so I figured I'd try this one."
McGinn will skate on the Avalanche's third line, with center Mark Olver
and right wing David Jones
, and he also will be used in penalty-killing situations.
"Jonesie is a proven goal scorer and Ollie is quick up the middle, so I'm excited to get going and to get to know them better," he said. "I've got to do what Colorado wanted me here for. I have to continue to do those things and I'm sure we'll jell just fine."
McGinn arrived in town Tuesday and took part in his first practice Wednesday, but still is adjusting to the mile-high altitude.
"All the guys in the locker room have warned me about it," he said. "I felt it a little bit at practice yesterday, but I felt good this morning. I'm just going to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated and get some sleep and I'll be ready to go tonight. If I can stay on top of that, I hope it will be an easy transition. But I can't use that as an excuse tonight. I have to give it my all and do what makes me successful."
McGinn, who has 12 goals and 12 assists in 61 games, is replacing Daniel Winnik
on the third line and as a penalty killer. Winnik was dealt to the Sharks with T.J. Galiardi and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
"We're looking for energy and for him to be a strong, physical player who can really create havoc on the forecheck and use his size and use his energy to be hard to play against, to be abrasive up front," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "The biggest thing for him is to use his feet and not get paralyzed by thinking too much; just play your game. He's got 12 goals, so certainly he's got the capability to score."
McGinn said he has gotten over the shock of the trade, but added: "Tonight will be a big game for me; reality will hit. I'm really excited to be here. It's going to be a real good opportunity for me. It's going to be a fun month with this playoff push just to make the playoffs. It's an exciting time of the year and I'm ready to tackle it."
The Avalanche have won four games in a row and are 7-2-2 in their past 11 games to pull within one point of eighth-place Dallas in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars are idle tonight, so a Colorado win would give it sole possession of that spot, at least for a day.
The Avalanche won the first two meetings with the Blue Jackets this season, both in Columbus, and have won nine of the past 10 games between the teams.
This is the first of a two-game road trip for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three games in a row and are 30th in the NHL standings with 18 wins and 43 points.