Photo: Junior defenseman Gus Young stepped into a shutdown role in a breakout season for the National Champion Yale Bulldogs (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
It would be easy to overlook the prospects that the Colorado Avalanche have developing in the NCAA and Europe, simply because none are flashy prospects. All were drafted after the third round and none are even the superstars on their own teams. To overlook these four prospects, however, would be a huge mistake as all of them look to be making strides that will, ultimately, find them playing in the pro ranks soon.
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: 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: 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.