In just 24 hours, the Colorado Avalanche dramatically changed the college and European pipelines from bleak to optimistic. On June 26th, 2015, the team sent forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres and in return received JT Compher as part of a four-piece package. One day later at the 2015 NHL Draft, the team selected 21-year old Andrei Mironov from the KHL. Mironov’s age and extensive international and professional experience made it easier for the Avalanche to see what they have in him as a prospect.
Finland has garnered a well-deserved reputation for developing goaltenders in recent years. The top five goalies currently playing in Finland are not likely to match the career achievements of players like Pekka Rinne or Tuukka Rask but instead are long-range projects capable of one day being competent NHL starters or backups. Read more»
The San Antonio Rampage coaching staff entered the 2015-16 hockey season under a lot of pressure. Not only are they tasked with the development of the top Avalanche prospects but they must win over fans that saw their hockey team win its first-ever division championship then leave for Portland, Maine. Read more»
Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have used the last three drafts and two summers to turn a once dismal prospect pool into an underrated one. The key to continued success in the NHL is to have good depth and cheap replacements: two things a strong pipeline provides. Before the duo took over the front office, the team depth had been hurt by immediate graduation of top picks and lack of success in the later rounds in addition to free agency duds.
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.