The regular season roster is locked and ready for action. The Colorado Avalanche made the final cuts to reach the maximum of 23 players prior to the regular season opening game against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. The Avs sent forwards Brad Malone, Guillaume Desbiens, and goaltender Sami Aittokallio down to their minor league affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters on Sunday. Defenseman Nate Guenin and Nick Holden managed to secure roster spots partly due to the injury to Ryan Wilson. Wilson was put on the injured reserve list and will be sidelined about 7-10 days with a knee injury. Wilson’s injury also cleared room for Matt Hunwick to make the team, giving the Avalanche eight defenseman to start the season.
After six preseason games which the Avalanche posted a 3-3 record, the opening-night roster has finally been sent off to the league office. From the jump, head coach Patrick Roy knew who would be occupying his top three forward lines. The fourth line shaped up with no real surprises either, besides for the late addition of Marc-André Cliche who will serve a Roy’s “13th man”, meaning he will switch games with enforcer Patrick Bordeleau and step in for injured forwards when needed.
When Ryan Wilson returns to action the defense will have a clearer identity, but a name that no one would have guessed would be on the opening-night roster back in June is André Benoit. The former Ottawa Senator was signed in July and figured to be a minor league staple in Lake Erie, but Benoit impressed the Avalanche coaches and front office and will suit up for the Avs on Wednesday. The same goes for aging defenseman Cory Sarich. With an abundance of young talent on the Avalanche’s blueline (Stefan Elliot, Duncan Siemens), Roy and the front office have decided to stick with more experienced and older defenseman to hold down the back end for Avs. Obviously, the Avalanche felt the young guns needed more time to develop and they will certainly get that opportunity in Lake Erie with a possibility of being called back up at a later point in the season.
Here is the projected lineup for Wednesday:
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