Photo: First overall pick Nathan MacKinnon debuts as the Colorado Avalanche’s top prospect (courtesy of Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
First overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon may be getting all of the attention in Denver these days but Winnipeg native Calvin Pickard is silently working hard in the background and is looked to as the future of Avalanche goaltending.
Photo: Colorado’s second overall pick in 2011, Gabriel Landeskog made an immediate impact in the lineup and was named the team’s captain in 2012 (courtesy of Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Colorado Avalanche have had quite a bit of turnover already in their off-season, first firing former Head Coach Joe Sacco, then hiring Patrick Roy to be their new bench boss and Vice President of Hockey Ops and promoting Joe Sakic to be their Executive Vice President of Hockey Ops. Roy and Sakic have joined the fray and will look to help the team improve upon their prospect base that has them sitting 29th in the NHL in that regard.
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.
Photo: Minnesota Wild defensive prospect Matt Dumba received a brief look from the parent club to start the 2012-13 season before being returned to his WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
Our ranking of the drafted WHL defensemen includes a mix of offensively gifted players and prototypical “shut down” defensemen. For this list, the criteria we ranked “signed” prospects currently playing in the WHL. A handful of these defensemen attended their respective NHL training camps.
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.