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: Plymouth Whalers forward and 2014 prospect Matt Mistele is coming off a 60-point season as he enters his draft year (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With several of the team’s top players having departed for the professional ranks, the Plymouth Whalers’ Matt Mistele knows it’s his time to step up and fill some pretty big shoes. Fortunately, a mid-season trade last year provided him a pretty good example to follow.
Photo: After a long stint in Colorado in 2011-12, defenseman Stefan Elliott underachieved at the AHL level for most of his season with Lake Erie in 2012-13 (courtesy of Jimmy Simmons/Icon SMI)
Despite making the playoffs a few seasons ago, the Colorado Avalanche have been languishing the last few seasons, not fully able to cash in on the promise of their young players. Not only have they struggled on the ice, but they have struggled in the draft as well, lacking the organizational depth that makes the great teams truly great. All that aside, there are players in their system that have stood out a bit above the rest.
Photo: Defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has skated in 20 NHL games with the Avalanche in 2012-13, moved into the top spot in Colorado’s mid-season Top 20 (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Colorado Avalanche are in a very unique position for their franchise. They have a bevy of young talent in their organization – if you look at their roster, the team does not have many players over the age of 28 playing in the NHL this season. The problem for Colorado is, the bulk of that young talent is already on their NHL roster, leaving the cupboard a bit bare behind them.