Photo: Colorado’s second overall pick in 2011, Gabriel Landeskog made an immediate impact in the lineup and was named the team’s captain in 2012 (courtesy of Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Colorado Avalanche have had quite a bit of turnover already in their off-season, first firing former Head Coach Joe Sacco, then hiring Patrick Roy to be their new bench boss and Vice President of Hockey Ops and promoting Joe Sakic to be their Executive Vice President of Hockey Ops. Roy and Sakic have joined the fray and will look to help the team improve upon their prospect base that has them sitting 29th in the NHL in that regard.
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.
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: Cameron Gaunce is one of several experienced defensive prospects in the Avalanche prospect pool on the verge of making the NHL. (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
With players like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene quickly ascending to the pro ranks, it is easy to see why the Colorado Avalanche’s prospect cupboards might be a bit bare. On the surface that is certainly the case, but if you dig a little deeper and poke around, you can see that there is at least a little depth to be had at every position – even the ones that do not appear to have it.
Tyson Barrie, who made his NHL debut in 2011-12 with the Avalanche, is one of several promising defensive prospects in the Avalanche system. (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Colorado Avalanche’s defensive and goaltending prospects occupy eight of its top 10 spots. From offensive-minded defensemen to stay at home defenders, the Avs’ future on the blue line is looking bright. The biggest problem Colorado is facing is a lack of premium offensive talent in its system. Michael Sgarbossa and Joey Hishon have the potential to be impact NHL players, but the list ends there. Colorado is stacked with undersized forwards who consistently get hurt playing too physically on the ice.