Avs’ Ryan Graves eager to show what he can do with new organization

When Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves entered training camp in September, he was looking for a chance to prove himself to a new organization. He was acquired by the Avs in February in a one-for-one deal that sent Chris Bigras to the New York Rangers but didn’t get a chance to make an impact.

This season he wanted to show Colorado that he was worth trading for, and the favorable impression Graves made in the preseason earned him a recall opportunity when blueliner Nikita Zadorov went down with a lower-body injury.

The 6-foot-5, 226-pound native of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, made his NHL debut on Dec. 27 at the Vegas Golden Knights and has been reliable in spot duty.

“Pleasant surprise, to be honest with you,” head coach Jared Bednar said of Graves after Friday’s morning skate at Pepsi Center. “Simple game but effective game.”

Graves will skate in his fifth game Friday night when Avalanche hosts the Rangers.

“I’m excited for the game, but I’ve also been excited for the last four games,” he said. “I know a couple guys over there, so in that sense it’s special, but I’m more just thinking about trying to be a steady player and do what I can for the Avs.”

“I’m very thankful for the chance.”

Graves sees the end of Colorado’s six-game losing streak on the horizon.

“It’s just a matter of time before things turn around,” he said. “I think at the end of the year we’ll be thankful we went through this at this point of the year instead of doing it in April or toward the end of the season. It builds character.”

Notes. Bednar is going with Philipp Grubauer in net and Pavel Francouz as the backup. Semyon Varlamov is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Sven Andrighetto will replace Gabriel Bourque in the lineup.

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