Avs/Coyotes Player Grades – Comeback falls short

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The Avs rookies came back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime against the Arizona Coyotes but eventually fell in overtime by a score of 4-3.

How did each player perform?  Let's find out...

Gage Ausmus (C) - I guess you could say it was hard to get a gauge on Gage.  No?  OK.  His partner certainly didn't help him, as De Jong made some pretty glaring mistakes.  For the most part, Ausmus was just kind of there.

Travis Barron (C) - After making an impact last year at the rookie tournament, Barron has been relatively invisible through two games, which is disappointing.  He's been strong in the corners, but as a 19-year-old, you'd hope to see a little more growth.

Chris Bigras (B+) - A better performance from Bigras, who will likely get tomorrow off.  He limited his mistakes tonight, and while he wasn't perfect (a turnover in the 2nd that led to a breakaway against), he was pretty solid.  His lateral mobility was on the display on the power play, as he used his skating to walk the line and create shooting lanes.  He had a great rush in the third period that nearly led to a goal.

Sergei Boikov (C+) - Like Bigras the night before, a very uneven performance.  He made a poor read on the Coyotes second goal, as he pinched in the neutral zone and was unable to recover, but he made up for it with his goal in the 2nd.  He showed off some surprisingly strong stickhandling skills early in the game on a power play.

J.T. Compher (B-) - I would say Compher has had a good, but not a great tournament so far.  He's clearly more polished than most of the players out there, and he's had plenty of chances, including a shot in the slot that he rung off the goalies head tonight.  He was matched up a lot against Clayton Keller tonight and did well for himself.  That's a role he may see a lot on the big team.

Nolan De Jong (D) - A tough night for De Jong, who got exposed badly on two Coyotes goals.  He was way too high in the defensive zone, particularly on the PK, and got beat on the opening goal, and then made a brutal turnover right before the Coyotes' third goal.  He did manage to put one in on a slapper from the wall, but had a rough night, for the most part.

A.J. Greer (B) - I don't think there are many questions if A.J. will be an NHL player or not, but the question is how much can he score at the next level.  He missed a few great chances this evening, some set up by Tyson Jost, before finally breaking through on a deflection late in the second period.  The physical play will always be there, and he blew someone up in the second period tonight.

Tom Gregoire (B) - I thought Gregoire had a really strong showing, but as the defenseman on the ice in overtime, he was nowhere to be found when the Coyotes got their breakaway.  For the most part, he made some really strong reads, particularly in the neutral zone that allowed the Avs to transition back offensively.  There's no guarantee he earns an NHL contract, but tonight was a step in the right direction.

Tyson Jost (B+) - Jost finally got on the scoresheet, as Greer managed to tip in his slapshot in the second.  There's no question he's a step above everyone else, talent wise, and he made some tremendous plays that weren't finished, including a behind-the-back backhand pass to Greer early in the game that somehow didn't end up in the net.  He makes smart decisions with the puck, but did get caught trying to do too much and was the cause for a 2 on 1 in the first period.

Alexander Kerfoot (B) - Another strong showing, including two more assists, bringing his total up to 3 in the two games.  He used his vision to find Boikov in the slot in the second period with another backhand pass, similar to his setup of Compher the other night.  His penalty was a phantom one, as he just outmuscled the Coyotes player for the puck and got slapped with a boarding penalty.

Petr Kvaca (B-) - Giving up 4 goals obviously doesn't look great, but if you look back at them, the only one that he may want back was the second goal, as he got beat pretty cleanly.  The first and third goals were poor defensive coverage and basically 2 on 1's, and the final one was a breakaway.  He made some fantastic saves in the third to get the game to overtime, including a diving stick save in the final 5 minutes.

Ty Lewis (C-) - Lewis did pick up an assist on the De Jong goal, but had a very quiet night overall, and had a brutal turnover in the third period in the defensive zone.  Luckily, Kvaca bailed him out with a great glove save.

Andrei Mironov (B) - Tonight was a better showing for Mironov.  While he didn't throw one of his patented hip checks, he was steady all over the ice and even found himself jumping into the play more, something he's not likely to be known for.  Maybe playing with another Russian helped on the communication side.

Gustav Olhaver (D+) - Olhaver appears to have improved his skating a little bit from the year prior, but the rest of his game is still very raw.  He got a penalty in the second period of the game, but he really didn't do anything and it was more or less two minutes for "being big".

Hugo Roy (D) - A quiet showing for the captain of Sherbrooke in the QMJHL.  He may get one more chance to make an impression, but so far, all he's really done is bury a gimme.

Brady Shaw (D) - Shaw has himself an AHL contract, but there's no telling how much he'll play in San Antonio.  Like most of the third and fourth lines today, he didn't do much of anything and did nothing to make a positive impression.

Shawn Saint-Amant (C) - A very tame follow up to his starring performance on Saturday.  He was given another good chance playing with Jost and Greer, but those two are likely to have the puck more than the third person on their line.

Ben Storm (D) - Well, it's clear that he has figured out the only way he'll stick in professional hockey, and that's to be a pain in the ass.  He was constantly starting things after the whistle with the Coyotes players, and in between whistles, didn't do anything.

Dominic Toninato (B+) - If he had any hands at all, this would be an easy A.  That being said, I still think he was one of the better players on the team tonight, and a lot of that was due to his positioning.  In order to get some of these chances, you have to be in the right place, and Toninato's high hockey IQ allows him to be in the right spot most of the time, including being ready in the slot to pick off a pass, like he did in the first.  If he's going to stick in the NHL he'll have to show a little bit of offensive flair.

The Avalanche finish out their rookie tournament when they take on the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM.

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