Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
Last summer’s second overall pick at the NHL Draft, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, jumped straight into the NHL as many thought he might. Landeskog has traveled far in one year's time, as he now stands as a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
Photo: Goaltender Kieran Millan recently finished an illustrious four-year NCAA career with Boston University. (Photo courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
When it comes to the annual NHL draft the Colorado Avalanche appear more likely to turn to NCAA-feeder leagues for their selections than to Europe, with six players currently playing college hockey to just three overseas. The Avalanche management team has assembled a respectable group of NCAA and European prospects and while none are ready to make the jump to the NHL at the present time, at least four players could see duty at hockey's most elite level within two years, three of whom are goaltenders.
Photo: Rookie defenseman Stefan Elliot has been impressive this season, splitting time between the AHL and NHL. (Photo courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
With 16 roster players set to become either restricted or unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2011-12 season, Colorado Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman may opt to promote from within, providing an opportunity for many of his young prospects to play at the NHL level in 2012-13. Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie, Cameron Gaunce, Mark Olver, Brad Malone and Mike Connolly each have a good chance at leaving the AHL behind for good next season. Four of the prospects who appear in the Top 20 have suited up for NHL duty this year, and several more could receive a similar opportunity before the season concludes.
Photo: Colorado's first pick of the 2007 Draft, Kevin Shattenkirk has gradually developed into one of the top young puck-moving defensemen in the NHL. (Photo courtesy of the NHL)
A retrospective glance at the selections made by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft shows that former general manager Fracois Giguere and his team did a an above average job evaluating prospective talent for that season.
Despite striking out with a few risky picks in the late rounds, the Avalanche made their early selections count. Kevin Shattenkirk is a budding young star, T.J. Galiardi is an NHL regular, and Brad Malone, Kent Patterson, and Colby Cohen appear to be on their way to contributing at hockey's most elite level.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, USNTDP (NAHL) – 1st Round, 14th overall Read more»
Photo: Former first-rounder Joey Hishon is still suffering post-concussion syndrome and has yet to suit up for a game in the 2011-12 season. Having been out for eight months already, there is growing concern regarding Hishon's hockey career. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Lake Erie Monsters are in their fifth year as the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. They currently stand at third in the North Division of the Western Conference with a 16-15-1-1 record. Like many teams in the AHL this season, the Monsters have seen a great deal of players shuttle back and forth between the AHL and NHL, the most notable being Stefan Elliot, who looks as though he may be staying in the NHL for the remainder of the season.
Tyson Barrie, D, 20