Photo: After a long stint in Colorado in 2011-12, defenseman Stefan Elliott underachieved at the AHL level for most of his season with Lake Erie in 2012-13 (courtesy of Jimmy Simmons/Icon SMI)
Despite making the playoffs a few seasons ago, the Colorado Avalanche have been languishing the last few seasons, not fully able to cash in on the promise of their young players. Not only have they struggled on the ice, but they have struggled in the draft as well, lacking the organizational depth that makes the great teams truly great. All that aside, there are players in their system that have stood out a bit above the rest.
Photo: Junior defenseman Gus Young stepped into a shutdown role in a breakout season for the National Champion Yale Bulldogs (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
It would be easy to overlook the prospects that the Colorado Avalanche have developing in the NCAA and Europe, simply because none are flashy prospects. All were drafted after the third round and none are even the superstars on their own teams. To overlook these four prospects, however, would be a huge mistake as all of them look to be making strides that will, ultimately, find them playing in the pro ranks soon.
Photo: Cam Atkinson is one of several Blue Jackets prospects who has seen regular time in the lineup for Columbus during the 2013 NHL season (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
Welcome to the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Article: Yale defenseman and Colorado Avalanche prospect Gus Young and his Bulldogs teammates will face-off against UMass Lowell in the early semi-final game at the 2013 Frozen Four.
Junior defenseman Gus Young (COL) has blossomed into a tough and effective defensive defenseman for the Yale Bulldogs this season. He has played in all 35 games for that school, posting eight points (two goals, six assists) to date. Young is one of just three Colorado Avalanche prospects playing in the NCAA this season.
Photo: Defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has skated in 20 NHL games with the Avalanche in 2012-13, moved into the top spot in Colorado’s mid-season Top 20 (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Colorado Avalanche are in a very unique position for their franchise. They have a bevy of young talent in their organization – if you look at their roster, the team does not have many players over the age of 28 playing in the NHL this season. The problem for Colorado is, the bulk of that young talent is already on their NHL roster, leaving the cupboard a bit bare behind them.