It was anything but a traditional training camp for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Less than three months since defeating Tampa Bay in Game 6 last June, the Avalanche kicked off their three-day training camp with a different approach than years past. And that was something head coach Jared Bednar made clear when he met with the media on Wednesday.

Bednar wasted little time drawing a line through the camp roster. The first group that began each day was made up mostly of NHL regulars. The second session consisted of prospects or those that are likely AHL bound. The second group skated for a lot longer — something that was done methodically to give them more time to learn.

“We want to go longer with our second group and slow things down,” Bednar said on Saturday. “I don’t need our (NHL) guys standing around or being a part of that. The teaching is good for the younger guys.”

Despite a quick camp, and preseason already set for takeoff on Sunday, a lot was learned about the Avalanche as they prepare to defend their first championship in 21 years.

Listen to “Training Camp Begins” on Spreaker.

Deen’s List

Landeskog will miss time

Captain Gabriel Landeskog, who missed the last chunk of the regular season before returning in the playoffs, is expected to be out for the early part of this season.

Landeskog had surgery on his knee last March before returning in the postseason. He appeared in all 20 games for the Avs en route to the Stanley Cup but didn’t partake in any practices or morning skates. The 29-year-old did not skate on either of the three days, and Bednar confirmed his lower-body injury will drag into the regular season.

It’s unclear if the injury is related to last year’s knee.

No contact for Helm and Nichushkin

Veteran forwards Darren Helm and Valeri Nichushkin (both lower body) did not skate with the rest of the team. But unlike Landeskog, they both took the ice on their own in red non-contact sweaters. Helm skated each of the three days while Nichushkin was present twice.

Bednar did not have a timeline for either of them but said both are progressing well. It’s unclear at this time if they’ll be ready for opening night at Ball Arena on Oct. 12.

Galchenyuk gets an opportunity

Veteran forward Alex Galchenyuk was invited to camp on a professional tryout and has been given every opportunity to grab a hold of a roster spot. The 28-year-old skated mostly with Evan Rodrigues and Alex Newhook, making up what would be the second line if the season started today.

Galchenyuk has bounced around the NHL since being a highly touted prospect for the Montreal Canadiens. Last season he recorded 21 points in 60 games for the Arizona Coyotes.

Newhook gets the first look

The Avs don’t have a clear second-line center following the departure of Nazem Kadri. It was easily the biggest storyline heading into camp and the signing of Rodrigues was only going to inspire further competition.

Newhook, 21, is getting the first look. Him taking a big step this season is the ideal scenario for the Avs. The signing of Rodrigues, who had a career-high 43 points with Pittsburgh last year, will also serve as a security blanket in case Newhook needs more time to develop his game.

Other than those two, Bednar also mentioned Rantanen as a potential option at 2C. Rantanen centered the Avs’ top line last fall when Nathan MacKinnon missed time with an injury.

Georgiev is ready

Entering his first season with the Avalanche, goalie Alexandar Georgiev is excited about his opportunity to become an NHL starter. The 26-year-old told me he’s facing a lot of “good pressure” after joining a team primed for another Stanley Cup run.

Georgiev spent five seasons with the New York Rangers backing up Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin. He played more than 30 games on three occasions but never surpassed 34. Georgiev struggled mostly in 2021-22 but ended the season on a 10-2 tear and appeared in two playoff games in relief.

Kaut’s last chance?

It’s been made pretty clear by both Martin Kaut and Bednar that the 22-year-old is running out of opportunities to make it as a full-time NHLer in Colorado.

Drafted 16th overall in 2018, Kaut has played just a handful of games for the Avs since, scoring two goals in his first stint in 2020. He had just one shot on goal in six games last season and spent most of the season suiting up for the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League.

Bednar gave Kaut a look on the top line alongside Artturi Lehkonen and MacKinnon on Saturday after Rantanen was given a maintenance day.

Manson family grows

Defenseman Josh Manson, who signed a four-year extension with the Avalanche in July after joining the team as a rental at the trade deadline, did not skate on either of the three days.

Manson was away for personal reasons, and Bednar later confirmed that the 30-year-old and his wife, Julie, welcomed their second child into the world on Thursday. Manson is expected to join the team soon.

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

Listen to “Training Camp Begins” on Spreaker.