Photo: Sami Aitokallio will battle with Calvin Pickard for playing time with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters (courtesy of Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
While much can be said about the Colorado Avalanche being led by their young stars at the NHL level, there is not much the team can depend on for depth if immediate help is required. Graduations of high draft picks from recent years have led to a bare farm system that will take years to refresh.
Photo: Milwaukee Admirals goalltender and Nashville Predators prospect Marek Mazanec had a taste of NHL action during the 2013-14 season, playing well in a 25-game stint with the NHL club (courtesy of John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
The AHL’s Midwest Division features several talented incoming rookies including Rockford’s Teuvo Teravainen and Grand Rapids’ Anthony Mantha, as well as several key prospects entering their second pro season such as Chicago’s Ty Rattie and the duo of Miikka Salomaki and Colton Sissons in Milwaukee. Read more»
Photo: Joey Hishon is Colorado’s top professional prospect and has hopes of making the opening night NHL roster. (courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
When Patrick Roy took over as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, the team was presented with an opportunity for a new start. Together, the team and coach took the NHL by surprise and captured the Central Division title with 112 points in the regular season. It followed up that performance by taking the Minnesota Wild to seven games in the 2014 playoffs but ultimately lost in overtime of the final game.
Chris Bigras was voted “best defensive defenseman” by the OHL’s Western Conference coaches in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Two key Colorado Avalanche players did not stay prospects for long as both surpassed the 65-NHL-game mark in 2013-14. 18-year-old forward Nathan MacKinnon entered the league under the bright spotlights of being the 2013 NHL Draft’s first overall pick and did not disappoint. He ended the season as the Calder Trophy favorite and was unanimously voted as the trophy winner. Tyson Barrie also had a statement season when he cemented himself as a key figure on the Avalanche blue line, contributing offense in even-strength situations as well as on the power play.
Photo: Red Deer Rebels captain Conner Bleackley, picked 23rd overall, was the top pick by the Avalanche in the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
After the Avalanche’s 2014 postseason run came to an end, head coach Patrick Roy and executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic got right to work molding their team’s prospect pool to their likings. Read more»