Parts one and two covered the teams ranked sixth through 14th in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2015-16 season. Now, part three of this Hockey’s Future season preview looks at the top five teams in the SHL, as ranked by HF. The top five includes 2014-15 league champion, the Vaxjo Lakers, as well as perennial contender Skelleftea. Vaxjo defeated Skelleftea in the finals last season to take the SHL championship. Read more»
Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.
As is the tradition, Hockey’s Future hands out some hardware to the Colorado Avalanche prospects who made an impression this season for better, or in some cases, for worse. Although it was a struggle of a season for the NHL club, several younger players in various developmental leagues stood out as hopeful signs of incoming help.
With the exception of Will Butcher, it still remains to be seen just where the Avalanche’s NCAA and European prospects fit into the team’s long-term plans.
Butcher is a big part of the University of Denver Pioneers blueline and has had international success with Team USA in junior tournaments. Ben Storm, however, has not seen much more than bottom pairing minutes with his respective NCAA team. Both get the chance to participate in the NCAA Tournament however.
The Avalanche prospect pool isn’t exactly ripe with players ready to make the jump to the NHL. However, there are a few underrated prospects who could blossom into future stars for the team if their development continues on the same track.