Tonight the Colorado Avalanche begin their final home stand of the season. The Avalanche will have tonight’s game and then 1 more on the homestand then they will close out the regular season on the road. As far as the lineup goes yesterday the club called up two players from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. They called up Defenseman Duncan Siemens and forward Rocco Grimaldi.
Duncan Siemens was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2011 NHL Entry draft. He was selected in the first round with the 11th overall selection that year.
He has good size at 6’3, 205-pound defensemen. He is a player that had tons of hype built up around him coming out of the draft. I can still remember the excitement I felt when the hockey analysts were talking about how this kid could be the closest thing to Scott Stevens that we see in the NHL for some time. Obviously, it has taken Siemens some years to really develop more and hopefully gets his game on track, but he still posses that same potential and ability to play a similar shutdown style with some huge hits and great physical d zone play. I am very hopeful that he has been able to take a step or 2 this year in the AHL and that he can come into these last few games and leave a meaningful impression on the team and fans. He was one of the last players cut in training camp this year and Coach Bednar was very impressed with his game overall. He wanted Siemens to get more ice time in the AHL and continue to develop his game. Well, this is your chance now Siemens.. possibly nearing one of your last with the team, unfortunately… So, get out there, knock some people around make some big plays and show the team that you’re ready for the big show come next season full time!
Here is The Hockey News’s player forecast on him
|Has good size, physical toughness, shutdown ability and good hockey sense. Will hit to hurt and also displays pretty good puck-moving skills.|
|Needs to continue to add strength to his 6-3 frame to maximize his potential as a dominant shutdown defender. Lacks high-end offensive skills.|
|Solid defenseman with a little upside.|
Grimaldi was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 2nd round pick 33 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry draft. Interestingly enough both him and Siemens were in the same draft year. Grimaldi has always had a bit of a question mark around him since he started to play the game at the age of 5. Now those questions are still there, but they have absolutely nothing to do with his skill level or work ethic. What they have to do with is his size. He is only 5’6 tall. That is something that has kept him from getting too many opportunities to this point in his career at the NHL level. The Avalanche picked him up in a trade last offseason. He has spent the majority of this season with the AHL team but was called up once and did display some solid skills with the puck and around the net. In the new age NHL where there is far less clutching and grabbing a player of his size and skill could have a shot to really excel and turn into something special. Calgary flames fans will know what I am talking about. (Looking at you Johnny Hockey). I am excited that he is going to get a shot to show what he can do, Avalanche fans have seen what another smaller very fast and highly skilled player can do since the trade deadline in Sven Adnrighetto. With the Avalanche looking to get younger and faster next season I think that Grimaldi is a very exciting prospect to take a long look at.
Here is a look at The Hockey News’s player forecast for Grimaldi
|Highly competitive and feisty, he can produce points and play sound two-way hockey as well. Is versatile enough to play either wing or center and is constantly hustling.|
|Is significantly undersized for the National Hockey League, so he will need to add a lot more bulk to his diminutive frame (and prove he can withstand the wear and tear).|
|Diminutive, talented and versatile forward with some upside.|
Tonight’s Match Up
Tonight’s matchup will be the 5th and final one between the Blackhawks and the Avalanche this season. The Avalanche are 1-3-0 against the hawks to this point in the season. It would be nice to see the team get one more back on the hawks this year. The last game that the two teams played ended with the Hawks coming out on top 6-3 over the Avalanche. The Avalanche lead after two periods 3-1 but then the Hawks scored 5 unanswered goals in the third period to finish off the team and leave them and the fans a bit stunned and unsure what just happened. Grigorenko scored 2 goals for the Avalanche in that last meeting.
Players To Watch
As far as who we need to be watching for tonight it seems to be the same story as it has been for the last couple of weeks now. The top line of Andrighetto, MacKinnon, Rantanen. Andrighetto now has a total of 12 points in his 15 games since joining the Avalanche. The line has combined for six goals and seven total assists in the last five games for the Avalanche.
Of course, the other players to watch tonight will continue to be the young players who are getting their first taste of the NHL the end of this year in guys like Compher and Jost. Duncan Siemens will also be getting his first NHL time this season with the team and Grimaldi will get his second stint with the team after being called up for a short time earlier in the season.
It is currently unknown whether Grimaldi or Siemens will be in the lineup tonight, or if we will have to wait for one more game to see them in game action. The Avalanche did not have a practice this morning so there was no chance to find out what the anticipated lineups could be tonight. If I see any reports on it before the game ill be sure to update it and add it here.
Last Game Out
Last game out Mikko Rantanen scored his now team leading 18th goal of the season on a beautiful breakaway. he has 36 points and that ranks him third on the team in scoring and he is tied for 9 in rookie scoring in the NHL.
Tonight’s game will be airing on Altitude 2 for anyone who may not know what channel that is here is a nice guide that Colorado Avalanche website put together for you
Here are tonight’s Game Notes
Do you like the idea of bringing in some of the kids and getting their feet wet like this at the end of the season? Do you think that this will be beneficial to not only the players but Coach Bednar as well moving into the offseason as the organization attempts to decide what to do and where they need to improve or make moves?
Let us know in the comments what you think about it! and let’s go Avs!