The Colorado Avalanche’s top five prospects are as good as any other team’s in the league but after fifth-ranked Nicolas Meloche the level of talent begins to wane and big question marks appear. The front office targeted defense as a weakness a few years ago, putting emphasis on improving that area at the expense of the forward group. The lack of success in the mid- to late-rounds has not helped the team’s situation.
The San Antonio Rampage did not lose in regulation until November 7th against their rival, the Texas Stars. The month-long hot streak included six regulation wins and four overtime losses. They continued to rack up wins and stay atop the Pacific Division until December when they proceeded to lose seven in a row and a staggering 15 losses in 20 games. Colorado Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic has emphasized the need to establish a winning culture in their minor league system but knows such changes cannot be accomplished overnight.
The San Antonio Rampage coaching staff entered the 2015-16 hockey season under a lot of pressure. Not only are they tasked with the development of the top Avalanche prospects but they must win over fans that saw their hockey team win its first-ever division championship then leave for Portland, Maine. Read more»
Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have used the last three drafts and two summers to turn a once dismal prospect pool into an underrated one. The key to continued success in the NHL is to have good depth and cheap replacements: two things a strong pipeline provides. Before the duo took over the front office, the team depth had been hurt by immediate graduation of top picks and lack of success in the later rounds in addition to free agency duds.
Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.