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.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Goaltending depth
- Lack of depth on the wings
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
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.
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.
With a propensity to draft players from the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL, Colorado Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman has assembled a wealth of skilled prospects who either continue to refine their game in the Canadian Hockey League, or have moved on to playing with Colorado's AHL-affiliated Lake Erie Monsters. Fewer in number are the Avalanche's prospects currently honing their craft in the NCAA or in Europe, but they do have several with the potential to be serviceable NHL players in the not-so-distant-future.
Position-wise, the Avalanche can boast about having a system that is arguably the richest in talent along the blue line, in addition to a promising plethora of young game-changers between the pipes. Up front, the Avalanche have considerably less depth, but they may still have a couple of future stars on their hands.