Photo: Goaltender Calvin Pickard has been the primary starter for Lake Erie in 2013-14, earning a 7-7-2 record thus far (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Every Avalanche prospect playing professionally are currently in Cleveland playing for the Lake Erie Monsters with the exception of goaltenders Kieran Millan and Kent Patterson who are in Denver playing for the Denver Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League.
Photo: Mississauga Steelheads goaltender Spencer Martin was Colorado’s third round pick in 2013, adding to an already strong group of prospects in net for the Avalanche (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Colorado Avalanche are off to a hot start this season and youngsters like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon are big reasons for their early success. What all three have in common is that they were able to jump immediately from the junior ranks to the NHL after being drafted.
Photo: Playing in his rookie pro season, Michael Sgarbossa was leading the Lake Erie Monsters in scoring when he was called up to the NHL club on January 29th. (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
The depth and talent developing at the pro level is an organizational strength for the Colorado Avalanche. Players like Michael Sgarbossa, Mark Olver, and Tyson Barrie got off to strong starts in the AHL and are now making an impact for the Avs in 2013. Meanwhile prospects Stefan Elliott, Brad Malone, and Cameron Gaunce are knocking on the door and are more than ready to step in as injury replacements this season.
Photo: 2013 prospect Nathan MacKinnon leads a talented Halifax Mooseheads team that should contend for the QMJHL title in 2012-13 (courtesy of Dave Connelly/HF)
As is always the case, the new QMJHL season approaches with a clear shift in the balance of power across the league. The 2011-12 season featured an extremely strong TELUS East Division which eventually led to the Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan Cataractes.
Photo: Goaltender Kent Patterson signed a two-year entry-level deal with Colorado at the conclusion of his senior year with Minnesota. In his last year with the Golden Gophers, Patterson managed a record of 28-14-1. (Patrick Green/ Icon SMI)
Neither the Colorado Avalanche nor their AHL-affiliated Lake Erie Monsters managed to crack the playoffs this season, but a handful of their prospects were still playing hockey when their team's respective regular seasons ended. The Avalanche system saw players contending in the postseason both overseas and at the NCAA and Canadian major junior levels.