Photo: Defenseman Stefan Elliott spent most of 2013-14 with Lake Erie in the AHL, but he returned to the NHL late in the season and scored a goal in an April 13th overtime loss in Anaheim (courtesy of Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
As the 2013-14 hockey season ends for many Colorado Avalanche prospects, there are still a few competing for their respective league championships.
Photo: Freshman defenseman Will Butcher (#7) made his mark with 16 points in his first year for the University of Denver. The Pioneers won the inaugural NCHC tournament with a win over Miami (courtesy of Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
In the last four drafts, the Colorado Avalanche only selected a combined six players from the USHL, a pipeline to the NCAA, and European junior leagues. To date, only four of those players still remain a part of the Avalanche organization.
Photo: Colorado’s first overall pick in 2013, Nathan MacKinnon has scored 20 points with a plus-10 rating in 19 games since the start of 2014 (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Colorado Avalanche entered the Olympic break with a 37-16-5 record, which places them third in the Central Division behind the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.
Photo: Drafted third overall in 2009, Avalanche center Matt Duchene has developed into one of the most electric offensive players in the NHL (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
It is safe to say that the 2008-09 season was a season Colorado Avalanche fans would much rather forget. Not only did their 32-45-5 record leave them in last place in the Western Conference, but 27th overall in the NHL as well.
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.