Despite having a roster that features some of the best young talent in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche will miss the playoffs for a third straight season. While there have been some bright moments for Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and the rest of the Avalanche this season, injuries took a big toll early on and the team has never really recovered. With a lot of young talent in their system, this season should only be a temporary setback for the Avalanche as they will have many new players ready to contribute in the next few seasons.
While the Avs have gotten a solid contribution from young defenseman Tyson Barrie this season, he is just one of many promising blue line prospects. Stefan Elliott hasn’t matched his production from last season at the NHL level, but has five goals and 11 points for the AHL Lake Erie Monsters this season. 2011 first-round draft pick Duncan Siemens will turn pro next season, and could have an immediate impact at the AHL level. Goaltender Calvin Pickard got called up to Colorado earlier this season, but has not seen any NHL action and appears to be a few season away from being ready.
On the offensive side of things, the Avalanche are a bit thin on the wings but have a few promising centers. Mike Sgarbossa has 19 goals and 44 points as an AHL rookie, and earned six games with the Avalanche earlier this season. Joey Hishon, a 201 first-rounder, recently debuted for the Monsters after missing nearly two seasons due to a concussion. Other top prospects include Nate Condon (University of Minnesota) and Mitchell Heard.
Looking ahead, the Avalanche have a bright future. While this season was mostly a disappointment, the experience gained by the team’s young core could be incredibly beneficial moving forward.