Two of the four reasons the Avalanche have the NHL’s most exciting up-and-coming defensive corps were men amongst boys Friday at Family Sports Center. Rookies Conor Timmins and Bo Byram had that special something that the others did not. They were more skillful, more instinctual.
Ultimately, they will be viewed similarly to the more experienced Sam Girard and Cale Makar and combined, the four young offensive-minded defensemen will ensure that D-zone breakouts will be clean and scoring from the blue line will be aplenty.
While the now-healthy Timmins, 20, and Byram, 18 — the first defenseman selected in the 2019 draft — were skating circles around their peers under the guidance of coaches, Girard, 21, was on the other sheet with veterans at an informal captain’s skate. Makar, 20, wasn’t around but he’ll likely be on hand Monday when the captain’s skates becoming “unofficially” mandatory.
All four defenseman will practice together Friday when the on-ice portion of training camp begins. Because the game has evolved from size to speed and skill, they all have a chance to be in the same lineup.