Conor Timmins was among three bright young defensemen in the Avalanche’s preseason opener Tuesday night against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. Timmins, who turns 21 on Wednesday, and Ryan Graves, 24, and Bo Byram, 18, could each see action with the Avs in 2019-20.
For Timmins, just being in Tuesday’s lineup at the Pepsi Center was a monumental triumph. Colorado’s 2017 second-round draft pick (32nd overall) was a top 2017-18 prospect who missed all of last season with concussion-like symptoms.
Timmins was cleared for contact at the Avs’ midsummer development camp, competed in the recent rookie camp and was again impressive during training camp. He is finally ready to resume his hockey career following a year of having no fun.
“Can’t go out with your friends. Can’t play sports,” Timmins said. “Just the little normal things — so getting back to that was awesome. Obviously, when I missed that much time, I have a little ways to go in terms of getting my timing back. So I’d like to get as many opportunities as I can in the preseason to get back into things and show what I can do.”
Awesome is an understatement. He was previously concerned that he would never play hockey again or worried he wouldn’t play effectively and get cut because he was afraid of the physicality of the game.
“At some point, you kind of doubt whether you’ll ever get fully back, but to be at the point I’m at now is a really great feeling,” Timmins said. “Once I get out there, the only thing on my mind is hockey. It’s at a good point right now where I can put it completely out of my mind and just focus on my game.”
Timmins was paired with Byram in the first period Tuesday. Byram was selected fourth overall in the 2019 draft in June, and because of his age and status in major-junior, he is not eligible to play in the minor leagues. He can play up to nine NHL regular-season games before the Avs can return him to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants or keep him the entire NHL season.
Timmins was in the same situation two years ago. Coach Jared Bednar said his staff considered keeping him, but Timmins was returned to the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds after the NHL preseason.
Because his long layoff, Timmins appears destined to begin this season with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League. But he is also expected to be a primary call-up candidate.
Footnotes. The other defensemen in Tuesday’s lineup were Mark Barberio, Nicholas Meloche and Jacob MacDonald. Timmins was paired with Barberio and Byram with Graves in the second period. Barberio and Graves probably will be on the opening-night roster. The Avs also used a young forward corps and goaltenders. The most interesting line was made up of Tyson Jost and top prospects A.J. Greer and and Martin Kaut. Jost and Barberio were team captains, along with forward Sheldon Dries. Colorado’s goaltenders were Adam Werner and Hunter Miska — who probably will begin the season as the two netminders with the Colorado Eagles.
- Avalanche morning-skate report: Conor Timmins to make NHL debut after long illness
- Conor Timmins is back in the fold for the Avalanche
- Will the long layoff hurt the Golden Knights in the next playoff round?
- Tyler Nanne, now healthy, happy to be a Gopher
- Bruins will combat long layoff with scrimmage
- Avs Mailbag: Goaltending woes, Tyson Jost resets with Eagles, Connor Timmins update and more
- Radio Ulster's Conor Bradford: The serious illness that kept me off air for a year
- Conor McGregor girlfriend Dee breastfeeds newborn daughter Croia
- How Aaron Boone is viewing this Yankees layoff
- Selective Job Cuts Often Benefits Firm More Than Broad Layoffs Over Long Term
- Conor McGregor welcomes second child with incredibly cute picture