Former Colorado College defenseman Brandon Straub learned Sunday afternoon that he will be sent to the American Hockey League affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Lake Erie Monsters (Cleveland, Ohio).
Once the Avalanche returned from the Burgundy and White scrimmage, held at Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, a cut list was posted. Straub estimated he was among "four or five" defensemen, one goaltender and "a bunch" of forwards who did not make the Avalanche roster for Monday's exhibition game at Phoenix, he said.
In his meeting with the Avalanche coaching staff, Straub received positive feedback about his performance during four days of rookie camp, two days of training camp and the scrimmage, in which he had two assists.
"They said they were happy with me, especially because I came out of nowhere as an undrafted free agent," Straub said. "They thought I was a pleasant surprise."
Straub's report was consistent with coach Joel Quenneville's comments after the game.
"He got our attention in rookie camp," Quenneville said. "I thought that he's done a nice job here. Not everybody had that opportunity to come to training camp . . . I didn't know that much about him but he showed his versatility and he was being active in the game."
Although he was disappointed that he didn't make the roster, Straub made a point to stress the positive.
"About a month ago, I didn't have a camp to go to," Straub said. "Now, I have a week off and I can go in there with an edge, having gained experience here."
During Sunday's scrimmage, Straub was mostly paired with John-Michael Liles, who was also his partner throughout the two-day training camp.
"I thought he did great," Liles said. "There's a reason why he's here."
Liles said he had to remind Straub not to apologize for mistakes.
"He's very humble," Liles said. "I told him, 'Don't worry about it.'"
Straub said being paired with Liles helped ease his nerves.
"I could ask him for pointers," Straub said. "He was really helpful and told me about their systems and where to be on face-offs and stuff like that. . . . With some guys, you're on edge and afraid to make mistakes. With him, it's the opposite. He encouraged me to take chances. As long as I was working hard out there, he was happy."
A contract still hasn't materialized and the organization can continue to evaluate Straub until the end of the month, per the terms of Straub's amateur tryout contract.
Straub said he will spend the week in Colorado Springs, training, skating and lifting. Tigers strength coach Mark Stephenson, who was in attendance Sunday, is directing Straub's lifting program.
When he reflected on the experience of taking the ice at Cadet Ice Arena in an Avalanche uniform, Straub called it "one of the most fun times I've ever had playing hockey."
"I could do it in my hometown and next to NHL players and I was right there playing well and contributing," he said. "It was very exciting."
Former CC defensemen Richard Petiot and Tom Preissing are among 39 players and 13 defensemen left in the Los Angeles Kings' training camp. Preissing scored a goal for the Kings in Saturday's preseason game against the Ducks. The Kings play the Avalanche at Pepsi Center at 7 p.m. Sept. 19.
This writer called former CC defenseman Mark Stuart a "virtual lock" to make the Boston Bruins' final roster.
Former CC forward Aaron Slattengren signed on for another season with the Augusta Lynx (ECHL). Lynx training camp begins October 5 and former CC right wing James Brannigan will be bidding for a roster spot.
CC recruit David Civitarese (Calgary, AB), who is slated to join the Tigers in 2008, scored his first goal of the season Saturday.