Colorado Avalanche: 5 Reasons For Optimism

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5. The defensive prospects

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The Avalanche need to make improvements to their defensive core to contend. I think this is a fair statement.

After Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, there are a few aging pieces who are slowing down and a few guys who are being asked to fill roles above their skill-sets.

The good news is, the Avalanche have some very exciting defensive prospects in their system.

Mason Geertsen, pictured above, is a big and physical d-man. Greertsen has really emerged as a top prospect for Colorado, despite being a 4th round pick. He takes care of his own end, has some surprising offensive skills (including a big shot), and was the MVP of his junior team, the Vancouver Giants.

Opposite of Geertsen, is Chris Bigras. Stylistically, the two players are very different. Bigras doesn’t possess the imposing frame and body mass that Geertsen has, but he does have excellent positioning, footwork, and hockey IQ. Bigras tore up the OHL this past season with his Owen Sound Attack, scoring 20 goals and 51 assists in just 62 games.

Mason Geertsen, Chris Bigras, Kyle Wood, and Duncan Siemens give the Avalanche a bevy of youngsters who could soon transform their d-core into something to be reckoned with

The Avalanche also still have Duncan Siemens, who made his NHL debut in the season finale against Chicago. Siemens is a big, nasty, stay at home guy. His trajectory to the NHL hasn’t been quick, but he may still have a role as a shut-down guy for this team in the future.

Kyle Wood is another name to keep in your back pocket. Wood is huge, at 6’5″ and 229 lbs. He needs to work on his footwork and mobility, but he is an intimidating dude. Wood also pitches in frequently on the offensive end. He has put up a line of 16 goals and 24 assists in 67 games. Wood already has a big shot from the point, and with his frame, he may just be turn that shot into an elite weapon and ride it to the NHL someday. At 18 years old he isn’t an immediate fix, and will need some seasoning. But 2 or 3 years down the line, you might be hearing his name a lot.

Next: Top 5 moments from 2014-15 for the Avalanche

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