Devon Toews. Alexandar Georgiev. Nathan MacKinnon. Cale Makar.

All of them are great NHL players. Most of them are Stanley Cup champions. Two — arguably three — could end up in the Hall of Fame. But despite their star power, there was still something the new Avalanche forwards saw in them that wasn’t as clear when they were the opposition.

Colorado’s 23-man roster for opening night includes 14 forwards. Half of them are new offseason additions. Each of those seven skaters was asked to pick one player from the returning Avs who has surprised them most since the start of training camp. The responses included a variety of names and detailed exactly what stood out most about them.

Jonathan Drouin

“Devon Toews. I knew he was good playing against him but he’s better than I thought. He skates so well. His offensive game is there too and I saw that right away — it’s impressed me the most, for sure.”

Ryan Johansen

“Alexandar Georgiev’s really impressed me. Seriously, Georgie, he’s been a stud. On my first day here I couldn’t score a goal for like an hour and a half. I didn’t know much about him. So I was impressed with him the most.”

Mile Wood

Nathan. Simple as that. You know the Michael Jordan documentary? He reminds me of exactly like him. He pushes guys to their edge day in and day out. It’s something I’ve never seen before and that’s why he’s so great. And on top of that, he brings it himself.”

Tomas Tatar

“I’m really surprised by Sam Girard. I think he’s very versatile, very strong. It’s impressive.”

Ross Colton

“One guy that really sticks out to me is Bo Byram. Playing against him before and in 2022, obviously I thought he was extremely skilled but he’s also physical. He could be on the power play and penalty kill. I didn’t realize he was such a good skater. He’s got a great shot, he can obviously create a lot of offense with his skating ability. He’s one guy that stuck out that I love being on the ice with.”

Fredrik Olofsson

“You always hear and see on the highlights what McKinnon gets up to and what Rantanen does in a year. But seeing those two guys work in person, the execution is at a whole other level. It’s insane. It really is. I mean, they get chances and they just don’t miss.”

Riley Tufte

“The two big guns in MacKinnon and Makar. Like those guys are lights out.”

Bonus question for Tufte: Where does MacKinnon rank for you on the list of intense guys you’ve played with?

“First. And it’s not even close.”