Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, we look at one of the Avs’ best young prospects; someone they hope will make a huge difference for their awful defense: Stefan Elliott.
Who: Stefan Elliott
Nicknames: We need a nickname for the guy. Not a lot out there. We’ll go with Ells for now because I feel like that’s totally his hockey name.
How He Came to Denver: 49th overall, 2009 NHL Draft
What he’s done: Elliott has only had what amounts to a cup of coffee with the Avs, playing 39 games in 2011/12 and just 18 last season. He’s found himself more and more an integral part of the Lake Erie Monsters, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. He’s shown the ability to be a good offensive defenseman, chipping in 14 points in his first 30 with the Monsters and another 14 in 44 games last season.
What he means to the team currently: The Avs would like Elliott to stick with the big club this season given their needs on the blueline and the real lack of a true impact acquisition on the blue line. If Elliott could stick with the team, he would give them another option from the point offensively, both at even strength and the power play.
Not only that, but he would be an upgrade to the low level of talent all over the blueline; the Avs are bad and finished last in the league for a reason. Adding Elliott would be a boost pretty much regardless; it’s time for him to stick.
What to expect: This theoretically should be the year that Elliott sticks. The top six is definitely not set in stone, with only Erik Johnson, Matt Hunwick, Jan Hejda, Tyson Barrie, and Cory Sarich probably locked in. There will definitely be opportunity galore for him to not only make the lineup but succeed; the Avalanche have high hopes for him and will put him in situations to help his development.
You would think that this would finally be the season he sees the ice for a full(ish) season given the dearth of talent on the blueline. Based on his abbreviated season last year, he was on pace for 35 points or so which would be a strong showing for his first full season and would give the Avalanche a much-needed threat from the blueline.
The team will need to partner him with someone who can be the physical partner he needs but look for Elliott to come up just short of double-digits in goals, somewhere around that 35 point mark and good feelings to be had all around in terms of his performance.
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