Photo: A late round pick in 2011, Garret Meurs has shown improved consistency early on in the 2011-12 season. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Colorado Avalanche have six prospects honing their skills at the junior level, comprised of one player in the OHL, two in the QMJHL in the WHL, and three in the WHL.
Stephen Silas, D, Belleville Bulls
Acquired: 4th round (95th overall) in 2010
Photo: Duncan Siemens possesses all of the tools to one day be a top four NHL defenseman. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
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.
Photo: Gabriel Landeskog will look to make an impact in the NHL with the Avalanche right away. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
With a couple of first-round draft picks among the top 11 selections in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche's top 20 prospects has changed dramatically over the past six months. The updated rankings include a pair of new faces in the top two positions in Gabriel Landeskog and Duncan Siemens. Fourth-round pick Joachim Nermark also makes his debut, while Ryan Stoa and Justin Mercier make the biggest downward slides.
1. (NR) Gabriel Landeskog, RW, 8.0C
Drafted 1st round, 2nd overall, 2011
Photo: With their second pick in the first round, the Avalanche selected defenseman Duncan Siemens 11th overall. (photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
Following a 29th place finish in 2010-11, the Colorado Avalanche were awarded the second overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – their highest draft pick since the now-defunct Quebec Nordiques selected Eric Lindros with the first overall pick in 1991. A midseason trade with the St. Louis Blues saw general manager Greg Sherman acquire another early first-round selection. In addition to the two picks in the first, the Avalanche had just four more picks over the remaining six rounds.
In his third draft as Colorado's general manager, Sherman added three forwards, each of whom is capable of playing the wing, and three defensemen to the Avalanche's system.
Gabriel Landeskog, RW – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
1st round, 2nd overall
Height: 6'0 Weight: 207 lbs
Photo: Taken 11th in Hockey's Future staff mock draft, Sven Baertschi would make a great linemate for one of the Avs playmaking centers. (Photo courtesy of Holly Gunning/HF)
Top 10 prospects
1. Joey Hishon, C
2. Calvin Pickard, G
3. Stefan Elliott, D
4. Cameron Gaunce, D
5. Joel Chouinard, D
6. Tyson Barrie, D
7. Ryan Stoa, LW/C
8. Kent Patterson, G
9. Mark Olver, C
10. Jonas Holos, D