Paul MacDermid was playing for the Quebec Nordiques when son Kurtis was born in 1994. It was the last stop on a 690-game NHL career. Kurtis said he has some old, child-sized Nordiques jerseys in his closet.
The Nordiques, of course, are now the Avalanche and Kurtis needs a lot more fabric. The 6-foot-5, 233-pound defenseman was acquired by Colorado in a summer trade.
“To be able to wear one of those like my dad did, it’s pretty special for me for sure,” MacDermid said.
MacDermid has been involved with the Los Angeles organization since signing as a free agent in 2012. He was selected by the Seattle Kraken from the Kings in the July 21 expansion draft, then flipped six days later for Colorado’s fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
The Avalanche didn’t carry an enforcer last season and policed by committee. Even top-line forward and captain Gabriel Landeskog had his opportunity, dropping the gloves with the St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn after a questionable hit.
If MacDermid is in the lineup, he’s the most qualified to handle those situations going forward. He added four clips to his hockeyfights.com resume last season and has 14 total in the NHL. He also had two goals and two assists in 28 games, but that’s not what he’s known for.
“It's pretty obvious. Physicality is what I bring,” MacDermid said. “I'm just making sure that the other team doesn’t take advantage of any of the guys.
“I want to bring to bring that presence to this team and this squad. Make sure the guys are playing with that full confidence. Let them do their job.”
Coach Jared Bednar said he plans to use him. Though the role of enforcers has shifted since Paul MacDermid's days, Kurtis has some job security in versatility. Bednar said he’ll try MacDermid on defense first — seeing how that group shakes out in the preseason — but the 27-year-old could be a winger.
“He's a great teammate. He's willing to learn,” Bednar said. “He's a hard-working guy. A little bit of a throwback.
“It's something that we have needed and are excited to add to our roster.”
Defenseman Devon Toews has skated with a coach between sessions this week as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Bednar said he’d been cleared for everything but contact and will eventually join the group in a red non-contact jersey. He’s expected to miss regular-season games.
"I predict that when he gets cleared for contact, it’s not going to be a long process to get him ready to play,” Bednar said.
Bednar plans to focus on special teams scenarios Monday and change the groups around. They remained the same Thursday to Saturday.