Timmins healthy, ready to play
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While we’re all waiting to see when Mikko Rantanen finally signs a new contract, there was some encouraging news out of Avalanche rookie camp on Friday.
After taking part in practice at the Family Sports Center in Centennial, defenseman Conor Timmins said he’s been cleared to play in the Anaheim Rookie Faceoff at Great Park Ice in Irvine, Calif., that begins Saturday.
The rookies will play Vegas, Los Angeles and Arizona in the tournament, which includes Anaheim and San Jose.
“I’m cleared to play this weekend,” Timmins told reporters. “Obviously being out this long we’re going to take things cautiously and see how things go. You never know, something could happen, but we’re pretty confident and we’re going to kind of take it as it comes.”
Timmins, who was the Avalanche’s second-round pick (No. 32) in the 2017 NHL draft, missed all of last season while recovering from post-concussion symptoms. He was injured on a hit in an Ontario Hockey League postseason game in May 2018 while playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Timmins practiced quite a bit with the Avalanche last season and spent some time on the ice with the AHL Colorado Eagles. He took part in development camp in June after being held off the ice in that camp the previous summer.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I came out here for a couple weeks every month training with (strength and conditioning coach) Casey Bond. That was really helpful for me, and I trained back home and felt really good. I just feel ready to go.”
Timmins was paired at times with 2019 first-round pick Bowen Byram on Friday.
“I’m hoping to play with him a bit,” Timmins said. “I think we have a lot of really good ‘D’ here, so playing with anyone would be good. We were just kind of mixing it up a little. I’m looking forward to playing with all these guys.”
Timmins had 61 points (seven goals, 54 assists) in 67 regular-season games in 2016-17 with the Greyhounds, with eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 11 postseason games.
The 6-foot-2, 184-pound Timmins was named the Western Conference’s Best Defensive Defenseman” in an OHL coaches poll in 2017-18 when he had 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) in 36 games, and 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 23 postseason games.
Timmins also helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo with five points (one goal, four assists) in seven games.
“I really missed that competitive aspect of the game,” he said. “Just going through practice is not really the same. I’m really looking forward to getting out there.
"When you take a year and a half off, you have to do whatever you can to stay current and stay relevant within the game. I just tried to take as much in as I could being around the NHL guys, and being around the AHL guys really helped me out. I feel like I have a really good handle on the game right now.”
The Avalanche rookies play Vegas on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT and Los Angeles on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT. They practice Monday and play Arizona on Tuesday at noon MT.
All Avalanche games will be streamed online for in-market fans on ColoradoAvalanche.com, with Altitude Sports Radio's Conor McGahey on the call.