Their most recent third jerseys can be found on the cool spectrum listed somewhere between 'fugly' and 'really fugly' but thankfully the simple Big Foot shoulder patch is a winner. But Big Foot is more of a Pacific Northwest kind of creature isn't he? Perhaps this is a Abominable Snowman foot... not that Denver is in the Himalayas or anything. Whatever, it's still better than the blue third jersey isn't it?
1st pick last year: Matt Duchene (3rd overall) – Few believed on draft day that the Brampton forward would step into the NHL four months later but that’s exactly what Duchene did. The Ontario native led all NHL rookies in scoring with 55 points and finished the year with a plus-1 rating. He ended the year playing for Canada at the World Championship in Germany where he collected 7 points, second best on the team.
The Good: Paul Stastny (44th overall, 2005) – The second generation star made an immediate impact on the Avalanche after they selected him in the middle of round two in 2005. The former Denver Pioneer compiled 78 points in his first NHL season, which is more than any rookie has achieved since. Stastny has scored between 71-79 points in three of his four NHL years (excusing his third campaign because of injury). He played in the 2010 Olympics for USA.
The Bad: Peter Delmas (61st overall, 2008) – In his draft year people believed Delmas was a bit of a hidden gem in the sense that he’d be stuck behind Jonathan Bernier in Lewiston. Two years after getting drafted, the Avalanche decided not to sign the QMJHL goalie and his rights will revert back into the pool for the 2010 draft.
The Unknown: Kevin Shattenkirk (14th overall, 2007) – Colorado fans have had to be patient waiting for ‘Captain Kirk’ to get his fill of college hockey at Boston University. The highly touted leader of the Terriers helped the club capture the 2009 NCAA National Title and recently signed with the Avalanche ending his college career. Expectations are high for the talented blueliner but all signs point to ‘stud’.
Coming Down the Pipe: Shattenkirk is just the beginning of an impressive list of defencemen the Avalanche have in their system. BU teammate Colby Cohen also turns full-time pro in 2010-11 plus WHL d-man Stefan Elliot and WHL Defenceman of the Year Tyson Barrie could also get a look. Kevin Porter, acquired from Phoenix at the deadline, was the 2008 Hobey Baker Award winner and Ryan Stoa hasn’t shown his best just yet. Goalie Kieran Millan, another BU Terrier, headlines a list of goalies that includes Brandon Maxwell and Kent Patterson.
Draft Trends: For Colorado the last several years have been all about the 2nd round. Paul Stastny, Colby Cohen, Ryan O’Reilly, T.J. Galiardi and Cameron Gaunce have been the highlights of thirteen second round selections over the last 5 drafts. Colorado appears allergic to drafting European players – only 3 out of 38 selections since 2005 have been drawn from outside North America and so far no NHL games have resulted. 6 goalies have been chosen over the last 4 years. There has definitely been an affinity for NCAA players as well.
2010 Prediction 17th overall:
Dean Millard: Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat) - Etem came flying out of the gate scoring 15 goals in his first 19 games. The California kid potted 4 goals once and added 2 hat-tricks, however he slowed up later in the year scoring just 5 goals in his final 16 games. Etem at times stayed on the perimeter a little too much, but still finished with 37 goals. A ‘shoot first ask questions later’ guy, Etem has speed to burn. The Avs are thin on the right side when it comes to prospects and snap up the Tiger.
Guy Flaming: Jeff Skinner (Kitchener) – One of only two 50-goal scorers in the OHL this year, Skinner’s stock soared in the late stages of the regular season and even more in the playoffs where he totalled 33 points in 20 games. Not big and not speedy but slippery and in possession of a deadly scorer’s touch, Skinner might be this year’s Jordan Eberle yet ends up getting picked several positions higher than the Regina Pat did in 2008.