Photo: Avalanche prospect and Baie-Comeau blueliner Nicolas Meloche plays a hard-nosed but skilled style, making him a valuable part of a versatile and underrated defensive group in the Colorado pipeline (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
Out of the Colorado Avalanche’s nine prospects playing junior hockey, five play in the QMJHL and all were drafted in the last two years.
For the first time in team history, the Avalanche left an entry draft without selecting any players from the WHL or OHL. Head coach Patrick Roy’s emphasis on targeting players from Europe and Quebec is a complete reversal from the previous regime’s preference and is just one of many philosophical differences in how he wants to run the organization with General Manager Joe Sakic.
Photo: San Antonio Rampage forward and Colorado Avalanche prospect Mikko Rantanen (#96) turned in a strong month of November after being sent down to San Antonio by the Avalanche (courtesy of Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Mikko Rantanen turned 19 on Oct. 29th. Instead of spending his birthday in the NHL, however, he was gearing up for a California road trip in the AHL. The first round pick began the 2015-16 season with the Colorado Avalanche but, after going pointless through six games, was sent down to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. Read more»
Photo: Colton Parayko is an early Calder candidate after outpacing his production in the AHL last season during his first 18 games in the NHL. (Courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Welcome to the October edition of On the Rush, the first of 2015-16. For first-time readers, this is a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations, or falling a little behind. Read more»
Photo: Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has produced 12 goals and 31 points in 54 NHL games to date after being chosen 25th overall in 2014 NHL Draft by the Bruins (courtesy of John Crouch/Icon Sportswire)
The Czech Republic is well represented in the 31-40 section of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects for the Fall of 2015. Three Czechs are included among the 10 prospects in this group, with six of the 10 hailing from Europe. Read more»
Photo: 2014 first-round pick Conner Bleackley has been a great leader for the Red Deer Rebels, but more production this season should help him secure an entry-level contract from the Avs (courtesy of Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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.