Photo: Nate Condon (left), one of Minnesota's top scorers this season, tries to maintain possession against a leaping check from North Dakota's Danny Kristo (MTL). (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
The 2008 Entry Draft saw players such as Steven Stamkos, Erik Karlsson, and Jordan Eberle taken in the opening round. The Colorado Avalanche, however, missed out on the first round of the draft having sent their first round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the deal that sent Adam Foote back to Denver.
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.
Photo: Although he is stuck in the AHL with Lake Erie so far this season, Mark Olver is among the most NHL-ready prospects in the Colorado Avalanche system. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Despite having a rather shallow system outside of the pro ranks, the Colorado Avalanche
slowly amassed one of the deepest pools of professional prospects in the NHL. From Stefan Elliott
to Michael Sgarbossa
and Mark Olver
, the team has a wealth of pro prospects able to make the jump to the NHL when called upon. Throw in four goaltending prospects in the minors with the potential to play in the NHL, and the upcoming season promises to be worth watching for the Avs' prospects.
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.