If you expected Conor Timmins to make the Colorado Avalanche opening night roster you would have been called insane. The 21-year-old was coming off a missed season due to concussion symptoms. Timmins overcame a lost development year and has played in Colorado’s first two games. He was sent down to the AHL today per Ryan Clark of The Athletic.
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) October 7, 2019
Conor Timmins Shows Promise
Timmins was originally a 2nd-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He didn’t play at all in 2018-19 after suffering a head injury with Sault Ste. Marie. He remained a top Avs prospect during recovery but was expected to start the season with the team’s AHL affiliate. Timmins’ winning an NHL roster spot was the biggest surprise coming out of training camp.
In Colorado’s two games he played an average of 10:25 per night with one shot. Just over 19 of his 21 minutes came at even strength and most of that was next to the more physical Ryan Graves on the third pair. Those are unimpressive numbers unless you consider the road Timmins has taken to this point. He doesn’t need to do much to impress this year beyond just not collapsing against NHL opponents. It helped that he receiving a majority of his starts in the offensive zone where there is less pressure to shut someone down. The only defender with more starts in that zone is fellow rookie Cale Makar which shows some healthy sheltering from coach Jared Bednar.
Pairing Timmins with Graves gave that pairing a right-handed/left-handed shot combination they didn’t have last year with players like Ian Cole or Patrik Nemeth. That doesn’t seem like much but it is something NHL teams will occasionally seek out to diversify their shot offerings. Makar and Erik Johnson are Colorado’s only other righties on the NHL roster.
What this Means for Colorado and Timmins
Timmins has done fine but isn’t a key player at this time in his career. Colorado has numerous options on defence including veterans Cole and Mark Barberio. Cole is especially important as one of Colorado’s better penalty killers last year. He blocked a team-high 178 shots and started the majority of his shifts off the faceoff in the defensive zone. Cole continues his rehab from summer hip surgery but could be back sooner than expected from rehab related to hip surgery. Colorado will recall a defenceman later this week to fill Timmins’ spot. Look for Calle Rosen to take the final open roster spot with two points in two games with the Avs’ AHL affiliate. Timmins should be applauded for what he was able to do early and holds a good deal of promise for the team moving forward.
After missing a full season Timmins needs to play in order to continue his development. Playing just over 10 minutes a night in the NHL is not ideal, even if he is capable of playing at this level. In the AHL, Timmins can be a top pairing defenceman and play around 25 minutes per game. This will help him to continue his development and prepare Timmins to take the next step. It may not be long before he is back up with the big club.
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