American Hockey League

Miska adds goaltending insurance for Avalanche

Hunter Miska entered the Avalanche’s rookie camp Friday anywhere from third to fifth on the organization’s goaltending depth chart.

The former Minnesota-Duluth standout could become the No. 1 guy with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League, but also fall to the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.

One thing is for certain: Miska aims to provide quality depth behind Avs starter Philipp Grubauer and backup Pavel Francouz. If Grubauer struggles or is injured and the unproven Francouz doesn’t fill the void, the 24-year-old is probably the next man up.

After signing an AHL contract as a free agent in July, he is in rookie camp along with signed 2016 draft pick Adam Werner, 22, and unsigned 2019 draft pick Trent Miner, 18.

“I know I can be successful in this league,” the Minnesota-born Miska said of the NHL. “I just need to get the opportunity to show that I can be the guy. I’m ready for that opportunity.”

Standing 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Miska has one game of NHL experience, playing 18 minutes for the Coyotes last season. He played 25 games for the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners in 2018-19 and 36 as a first-year pro in 2017-18. He signed with the Coyotes as an undrafted free agent following his freshman year at UMD.

If Miska had remained a Bulldog, he would have been a senior this coming season. But he likes the fact that he’s going to be a third-year pro.

“I felt like I did pretty well in my first year (in the NCAA) and had a good opportunity to move to the next level. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know if your game’s going to be done tomorrow,” Miska said. “So I went after it in Arizona. I loved my experience there. I got two years under my belt with pro hockey.”

Miska didn’t re-sign with Arizona this summer because he wasn’t offered a contract by the team after his entry-level deal expired July 1. He said Colorado was the most aggressive team to seek his services.

“This opportunity came right away, when I found out I wasn’t going back to Arizona,” Miska said. “These guys came reaching out ASAP when free agency came. They had a really good opportunity for me and I’m really excited to pursue it.”

Footnotes. Defenseman Conor Timmins, 20, looks healthy and strong after missing all of last season with concussion-like symptoms. Timmins participated in development camp in July and said he has been symptom-free since early this year. … Avs veterans began a captain’s skate at Family Sports Center while the rookies were finishing up on the other sheet. Forward Colin Wilson, who had off-season shoulder surgery and is not yet 100 percent, joined the group but skated on his own. … The rookies were scheduled to catch an afternoon flight to Anaheim, Calif., where they will begin a rookie showcase Saturday against peers from the Vegas Golden Knights. The young Avs also play the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday and the Coyotes on Tuesday.

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