J.T. Compher

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‘There’s going to be a lot of turnover’ in Colorado

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Here’s what we know about changes in Colorado this offseason.

There won’t be one at the top, as GM Joe Sakic got a vote of confidence from team president Josh Kroenke.

There won’t be one behind the bench, as head coach Jared Bednar got a vote of confidence from Sakic.

There will, however, be changes to the roster.

“There’s going to be a lot of turnover,” Sakic said on Tuesday, in an interview with Altitude Sports 950. “We’re going to get some younger guys in here. We’re expecting to be a much quicker team and a much more competitive team.”

To hear Sakic explain it, the likes of J.T. Compher, Tyson Jost, A.J. Greer, Matt Nieto and Sven Andrighetto will add speed and skill to the club’s “young core.” It’s believed that core consists of two of Sakic’s untouchables — Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon — and may or may not include the likes of Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

That puts question marks on a number of others.

One has to wonder what the future has in store for 31-year-old Carl Soderberg, who had a disastrous year offensively with just six goals and 14 points in 80 games. Soderberg is on the books at $4.75 million annually through 2019. Another pair of experienced forwards, Blake Comeau and Joe Colborne, have one year left on their respective deals at $2.4 and $2.5 million. Both failed to muster much production last season.

Then there’s the defense.

“We’ve still got to work on our back end,” Sakic explained. “That’s a work in progress. Hopefully we’re going to have a signing here soon that we can announce (KHLer Andrei Mironov, who’s reportedly on his way to Colorado), so we’re waiting and seeing if we can do that.

“But for sure, that’s an area that we would like to improve.”

With just four blueliners under contract — Barrie, Erik Johnson, Francois Beauchemin and Mark Barberio — Sakic has some decisions to make. Fedor Tyutin and Cody Goloubef are UFAs but, given the GM’s desire to go young, probably aren’t in the plans. Nikita Zadorov and Patrick Wiercioch are RFAs.

As for how Sakic plans to remodel his defense? Well, it certainly doesn’t sound like he’ll be spending money on the open market.

“We’re not going to be players in free agency,” he said. “We want to grow our kids and keep the youth movement going, and try and develop and have them grow together.”

Reading between the lines, it sure sounds like Sakic could be more active on the trade market this summer than he was during the regular season. If the plan is for “a lot of turnover” and the preference is to stay quiet in free agency, it’s the only logical way to make changes.

“We’ll be on the phone quite a bit,” Sakic said.

Gaudreau scores twice, Howard stands tall as U.S. beats Sweden

After a shaky start to the 2017 World Hockey Championship, the Americans have found their stride.

Team USA scored its second straight victory on Monday, beating Sweden 4-3 in an entertaining affair. Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau scored twice for the Americans while Detroit’s Jimmy Howard was terrific in goal, making 39 saves.

Playing on a line with Jack Eichel and Anders Lee, Gaudreau has been solid this tournament and now has four points through three games. He and the U.S. offense have really put things together since a 2-1 loss to Germany in the opener — the Americans have scored 11 goals over their last two contests.

J.T. Compher notched the game-winner today, while Clayton Keller — who notched a hat trick in a 7-2 win over Denmark on Sunday — found the back of the net yet again.

The Swedes were led by Elias Lindholm, who scored twice, while Bolts blueliner Victor Hedman added a single. This marked Sweden’s second loss of the tourney, having lost 2-1 to Russia in the opener.

Related: Landeskog knocks Schmaltz from game with questionable hit

Gaudreau joins Eichel as latest additions to USA’s Worlds roster

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Another big score for USA Hockey on Friday.

Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau — whose season ended earlier Wednesday with a playoff sweep at the hands of Anaheim — told reporters today he’d be joining Team USA for the upcoming World Championships in Germany and France.

Gaudreau’s announcement comes just days after another big name — Buffalo’s Jack Eichelalso agreed to join the squad.

All this makes for a pretty intriguing roster.

USA Hockey has adopted a youth movement, selecting collegiate players like Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen (a Buffalo draftee), Boston University forward Jordan Greenway (a Minnesota draftee), Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork (a Boston draftee) and Daniel Brickley, an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State-Mankato.

In addition to those, some quality NHL youngsters are also in the mix: Noah Hanifin, J.T. Compher, Andrew Copp and a pair of prized Arizona prospects — Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller. Detroit sophomore Dylan Larkin will also suit up for the Americans.

The 2017 Worlds get underway on May 5.

 

 

USA Hockey names 15 players to Worlds roster

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USA Hockey named 15 players to its initial World Championship roster today.

It’s a mostly young group, including NHL prospects Jordan Greenway (Wild), J.T. Compher (Avs), and Cal Petersen (Sabres).

But there are also some veterans, the oldest being Jimmy Howard, 33, of the Red Wings.

Here’s the full list of 15:

In case you’re wondering, Daniel Brickley is an undrafted 22-year-old. Despite drawing significant NHL interest, he decided to return to school for his junior year next season.

The 2017 Worlds will be held May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France. The Americans will be coached by Jeff Blashill.