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.
There are those who wonder if the Ontario Hockey League is being too liberal with its application of Exceptional Player status. But for the now-17-year-old defenseman who was the second to burst through those now-open floodgates, the key to exceptional status is the ability to be a normal, functioning, part of a junior team.
The following article details the 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Award winners. Morgan Rielly was the big winner with three awards, while Tony Cameranesi also took home multiple awards. The annual award winners were selected by the author with input from Hockey's Future staff members.
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.