JT Compher once again spent the off-season training in Chicago with Tomahawk Science’s renowned performance coach Ian Mack.
But this time the avalanche forward worked as much mentally as he did physically.
Reason: Komper wanted to understand why he had just 10 goals and 18 points in 48 games last season, and how to mentally prevent another subpar year from happening again.
“I was not happy with how my season went last year. I’ve had a lot of tough conversations with myself over the summer, and being an aggressive, determined player has brought me success in my career,” Komper said after skating Thursday morning at the Ball Arena earlier that night. Minnesota Wild Against the Precision Home Opener. “There was a lot of physical work not only in the summer, but also mental work to make sure I was ready to go this year, and to feel confident and strong, both physically and mentally Was.”
The 26-year-old Komper is starting his fifth full season with AVS as a potential third-row right winger and the new bumper man on the No. 1 power-play unit. He replaces Junas Donskoy, who was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft, as the right-shot man in the middle of the power play. In that case, his responsibilities include firing a one-timer from a slot less than a rebound or a short pass from the end line.
Comper made the same shot in his crosshairs in overtime in last season’s deciding Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Instead of throwing the pick into the open net, he blew it into the chest of goalkeeper Marc-André Fleury. Forty seconds later, Mark Stone of the Knights scored the game-winner at the breakaway.
Comper’s unsuccessful point-blank shot may have undercut his season, which ended with him going minus-1 in Game 6 two nights later.
“There are definitely thoughts about it,” Komper said of misfiring his Game 5 shot that could have given the AVS a 3-2 series lead. “But in general, it was completely just my season that I was not happy with. During the year I really felt myself struggling. But it was a good summer for me, more to reset and mentally Working to be resilient, so if I run into tough times I have a better way of dealing with them.”
Make a line Kamper was a right winger in the first row on Thursday, with centers Nazem Qadri and Gabe Landeskog. This was the most experienced line, each consisting of at least two prospects or players bound for the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. Three centres, Tyson Jost, Alex Newhuk and newcomer Mikhail Maltazev, are pegged to make up AVS’s opening-night lineup.
Oskar Olson, 18, a 2021 first-round draft pick, was among the few players to play in Tuesday’s presidential opener in Las Vegas on Thursday.
The AVS’ top defensive pair against Wilde was Eric Johnson and Sam Girard. Jack Johnson, who is on a professional tryout contract, played in his second preseason game and was paired with Kurtis McDermid. Goalkie Darcy Kumper, the potential starter on opening night, was backed by top prospect Justus Anunen.
footnote. The Avs are expected to reduce their 47-man roster on Friday. … Depth goalkeeper Hunter Miska was placed on a waiver on Thursday. If he goes unattended he will report to the Eagles.