The Avalanche have signed second round pick, defenseman Chris Bigras, to a three-year, entry level contract. From the Avs press release:
“Chris is a young and talented prospect with a bright future,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic. “We are excited to have him under contract and look forward to seeing him in the upcoming preseason games.”
Bigras was Colorado’s second-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He led all Owen Sound defensemen with 38 points (8g/30a) while adding a +35 plus/minus rating in 68 games during the 2012-13 Ontario Hockey League season. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound defenseman ranked second on the team in plus/minus, was third in assists (tied) and fifth in points. He was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the sixth-best North American defenseman in its final rankings for the 2013 Draft.
A native of Orillia, Ontario, Bigras (pronounced bee-grah) won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia. He recorded three assists and a +8 rating in seven games at the tournament.”So what does that mean for Bigras this season? Well, given the dearth of talent on the Avalanche blueline, I would say the door is wide open for him to be on the opening night roster.
Like Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott, Bigras isn’t known for his size or physical game. He’s got good size (6’1” 186) but his skating and offensive vision from the back end is what got him this far and will likely bring him success in the future. The Avalanche are looking to upgrade their talent on the blueline in any way possible and Bigras would fit nicely on the third pairing to transition him into the NHL game.
Bigras has big-time potential but let’s be realistic: young defensemen come along slowly and Bigras will likely take his lumps this year to get him accustomed to the speed and physicality of the game. He’ll have his flashes of potential but if he sticks with the club for the year, expect more than a few rough patches.
By the time the season ends, Chris Bigras will have taken his lumps but he’ll be better prepared and ready to come back for a much improved sophomore season. It may not be apparent right away but the Avalanche will be a better team with Bigras in the fold.