Photo: Kamloops Blazers forward and Colorado Avalanche prospect Colin Smith currently sits at third in WHL scoring after placing 14th overall in 2011-12 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Success stories in life can be measured in different ways. In junior hockey, many of these stories are just beginning to be written. And yet, there are some players that, to date, can already be deemed successful.
Photo: Playing in his rookie pro season, Michael Sgarbossa was leading the Lake Erie Monsters in scoring when he was called up to the NHL club on January 29th. (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
The depth and talent developing at the pro level is an organizational strength for the Colorado Avalanche. Players like Michael Sgarbossa, Mark Olver, and Tyson Barrie got off to strong starts in the AHL and are now making an impact for the Avs in 2013. Meanwhile prospects Stefan Elliott, Brad Malone, and Cameron Gaunce are knocking on the door and are more than ready to step in as injury replacements this season.
Photo: Winger Troy Bourke, currently ranked second on the Prince George Cougars in scoring, is one of the Avalanche prospects that is making his mark at the junior level during the 2012-13 campaign. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The Colorado Avalanche currently have eight players developing in the junior league ranks, including their second first-round draft pick from the 2011 NHL Draft, defenseman Duncan Siemens, who joined Team Canada for the 2012 Subway Super Series with Team Russia but was left off of the World Junior roster in Ufa.
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: Though the Columbus Blue Jackets added several important prospects this past off-season, none were more prominent than defenseman Ryan Murray, who was selected second overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Below is the bottom third of the NHL Team Rankings in terms of prospects as voted on by Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.