Monday, September 5, 2011

Rookie Watch: Colorado Avalanche

Each Day until September 15th TPS will take a look at one team from the Eastern Conference and one team from the West and spotlight a few rookies to watch for this season. Today in the West it’s the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avs have been rebuilding and retooling the last couple of years and have showed that they are not afraid to use young prospects as their brick and mortar. Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly surprised many when they made the big club two years ago. This year a guy like Stefan Elliott who notched 31 goals from Saskatoon's blueline last season might have a shot. Fellow WHL d-man Tyson Barrie (above) makes up for his small stature with mega skill and poise. 24 year old center Brad Malone was a 4th round pick and joins the organization after 4 years at the University of North Dakota.

However it's a hands-down, no-contest which freshman should have the biggest impact with the Avs. Gabriel Landeskog is NHL ready, likely more so than Duchene and O'Reilly were 2 years ago. He's big, fast and skilled, and about the only thing that sets him apart from the hype that fellow Swede Peter Forsberg received is that Landeskog has not a hint of a Swedish accent. He is such a great character player he captained Kitchener last year as a 17 year old.

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