The Colorado Avalanche opened their annual rookie camp on Monday at their practice facility in Centennial, CO.
Absent from this morning's session was defenseman Kyle Wood, who is recovering from a wrist injury.
If today's practice is any indication, this three-day camp will focus on intensity and conditioning. After the goaltenders worked out for about 15 minutes, the rest of the players arrived for a brief skate. The coaches, Dean Chynoweth, Tim Army, Brian Willsie, Randy Ladoceur, and Francois Allaire, ran the players through a series of 1-on-1, 2-on-1, 3-on-1, and 3-on-2 drills before concluding the 90-min practice with a bag skate.
With the captain's practice being ran on the adjacent rink with the Avalanche veterans, fan attention was noticeably divided. It's clear that this rookie camp will evaluate the strength and effort of the youngsters, before throwing them in the pit with the veterans come Friday.
It's also an important camp for two players in particular: Conner Bleackley and Duncan Siemens. For Bleackley, his junior team (Red Deer Rebels) will be hosting the 2016 Memorial Cup. It'll be a showcase season for his club. As for himself, he knows what's on the line; earning an entry level contract with the Avalanche.
Duncan Siemens, now in the final year of his entry-level contract, must do all he can to earn the attention of the coaches. If the hockey gods are smiling upon him, it will be a healthy and productive season.
Neither were really standouts on Monday morning, but few were.
Jan Mandat, who is attending camp on an amateur tryout, was noticeable with his solid stick work in defensive situations.
It's no contest that Mikko Rantanen is the most talented player at this camp. It's always interesting to watch the compete level of such a player when attending a camp such as this.
Stick tap to goaltender Max Pajpach who displayed a quick glove hand throughout the session.
For more coverage of today's rookie camp practice, be sure to check out this piece from BSNDenver.com.