The Colorado Avalanche had many options heading into the 2011 NHL Draft as they held the second overall selection. It was common knowledge that Edmonton would select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, leaving Colorado with forward Gabriel Landeskog or defenseman Adam Larsson as the most likely selection.
Colorado chose Landeskog and Larsson fell to fourth overall, where he was gleefully snatched up by the New Jersey Devils. These two rookies will finally get to face each other on NHL ice, as the Devils pay their only visit to Pepsi Center on Wednesday evening.
Larsson has put up respectable numbers (2 G, 6 A) for the Devils while finding himself earning over 20 minutes of ice time per game. He's currently at -4 for the season, a completely respectable number for a 19 year old defenseman. His Devils are also doing well this season, with a 12-9-1 record in the crowded Atlantic Division (though they currently have a -1 goal differential on the season). Patrik Elias leads the team with eight goals, ahead of their two main stars. Zach Parise has 12 points on the season and superstar Ilya Kovalchuk has 13 points.
Despite the struggles of most of their top talent, New Jersey has succeeded by leaning heavily on the play of goalie Johan Hedberg (2.24 GAA, .920 SV%). Veteran Martin Brodeur is still in the picture, but suffered an injury earlier this season and currently sports a save percentage below .900 this season en route to a 5-5 record.
For Colorado, they are coming off another frustrating loss. Despite outshooting Dallas, the Avalanche fell by a 3-1 margin after failing to capitalize on their chances against the Stars' backup goalie. On this homestand, Colorado is now 2-3 with three remaining games and certainly need to gain some momentum before heading back on the road. Forward Joakim Lindstrom was placed on waivers and, if unclaimed, will be heading to AHL Lake Erie. Rookie defenseman Stefan Elliott appears to have made his case and will stay on the active roster after scoring two points in his first two career NHL games.
Puck drops at 7:30 pm. MDT