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: 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.
Photo: Defenseman Chris Bigras made a good first impression in camp with the Avalanche before he was assigned to the Owen Sound Attack (courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
All eyes will be on Nathan MacKinnon on October 2nd as he will make the Colorado Avalanche’s opening night roster as the third line pivot. The 18-year-old rookie has big expectations coming in as the first overall pick but is in an excellent situation to excel as he will have the opportunity to learn from some of the league’s best centermen, including rising star Matt Duchene.
Photo: First overall pick Nathan MacKinnon debuts as the Colorado Avalanche’s top prospect (courtesy of Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
First overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon may be getting all of the attention in Denver these days but Winnipeg native Calvin Pickard is silently working hard in the background and is looked to as the future of Avalanche goaltending.
Photo: After a long stint in Colorado in 2011-12, defenseman Stefan Elliott underachieved at the AHL level for most of his season with Lake Erie in 2012-13 (courtesy of Jimmy Simmons/Icon SMI)
Despite making the playoffs a few seasons ago, the Colorado Avalanche have been languishing the last few seasons, not fully able to cash in on the promise of their young players. Not only have they struggled on the ice, but they have struggled in the draft as well, lacking the organizational depth that makes the great teams truly great. All that aside, there are players in their system that have stood out a bit above the rest.