Avalanche defenseman Duncan Siemens cleared waivers Saturday morning before practicing with the team that tried to dismiss him. For Siemens, the No. 11 selection in the 2011 draft who has played just four career NHL games, the situation isn’t as strange as it seems.
He’s still under contract, and still has a chance to play in the NHL this season. By Tuesday, however, he is expected to be reassigned to Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.
“Obviously, it’s very competitive here,” Siemens said after Avs practice. “They were honest with me when we chatted about it. They want some room to do some things if they presented themselves. At the end of the day, I’ll end up in San Antonio so I’ll still have an opportunity to keep fighting for a job. That’s all I can ask for at this point, to keep working day in and day out, and continue to work for that job.”
The silver lining of not being claimed by any of the 30 NHL teams is that Siemens maintains the familiarity with his surroundings. He played 73 games for San Antonio last season and 53 in 2015-16, and knows who he has to beat out to get another crack in Colorado.
“I’ve been able to build relationships here in Colorado since I was drafted. I have that sense of comfortability that makes it a little bit easier to go in and play your game,” Siemens said. “That aspect of it is definitely nice. If it was the latter (if he was claimed), you just learn to adjust. That’s how that game is for a guy like me. You have to adjust to every type of situation and as the years have gone on I’ve gotten better at that.”
Bernier still out. Goalie Jonathan Bernier missed another practice Saturday with a groin injury and it’s looking like Joe Cannata will begin the season as Semyon Varlamov‘s backup. Bernier, who was injured Monday in a preseason game at Dallas, was previously listed as day-to-day by coach Jared Bednar, who did not address the media Saturday.
The Avs will depart for New York on Wednesday and open the season Thursday against the Rangers. Cannata, 27, who has never played in the NHL, wouldn’t mind being on that flight.
“Like I said since the day I got here, it’s an honor to be around these guys and learn from them,” he said. “Just trying to take it all in, make myself better. Whatever happens, happens.”
Footnote. The Avs continue to carry 29 players, including the injured Bernier, A.J. Greer (concussion) and Sergei Boikov (shoulder). The 26 available players practiced Saturday and the lines and defensive pairings were the same from Thursday’s preseason finale in Las Vegas. … Colorado will take Sunday off before practicing Monday morning — an hour before the noon news conference in Loveland to officially announce that the Colorado Eagles will become the AHL’s 31st team and serve as the Avalanche’s top affiliate.