Brandon Gormley: Get to Know the Avs Prospect


Colorado Avalanche executives played it cool after the Free Agency Frenzy, acting like they’d done all the wheeling and dealing they intended before the start of the season. The next thing you know, we’ve acquired Brandon Gormley.

The Arizona Coyotes (well, Phoenix Coyotes at the time) selected Gormley 13th overall in 2010. Brandon Gormley has one year left on his entry-level contract and comes to the Avalanche with a $850,000 cap hit. His is a two-way contract, though.

Well, let’s take a closer look at this unexpected acquisition.

Brandon Gormley Statistics

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 196 pounds

Age: 23

Former Team: Arizona Coyotes

NHL Stats (2013-15):

 32 2 2 4 12 -3

AHL Stats (2012-15):


Defenseman Brandon Gormley hasn’t had a lot of NHL experience — just 32 games over two seasons. The story for him is similar to that of Stefan Elliott for the Avs — the Arizona Coyotes had a lot of defensive prospects in the system, and Gormley didn’t make his mark.

His statistics weren’t bad for a young two-way defenseman. He earned four points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 27 games. (Fun fact: both of Gormley’s NHL goals came against the Edmonton Oilers.) He was a -7, but you have to remember this was a pretty bad Arizona Coyotes club.

Gormley, as many young defensemen, needs work on his turnover ratio — he was a -1. Not a big guy, Gormley still delivered 3.8 hits per 60 and didn’t shy from blocking shots — 4.6 per 60 minutes.

The Arizona Coyotes didn’t much utilize Brandon Gormley, giving him just an average of 15.3 minutes per game, which is low for a defenseman. He was a top defenseman at the AHL level, though, seeing about 30 minutes of ice time per game with the Portland Pirates.

Brandon Gormley Playing Style

Howlin Hockey editor William Grigsby compares Brandon Gormley to a young Keith Yandle. That’s a pretty impressive comparison.

Gormley is working on being a two-way defenseman while emphasizing the offensive nature of his game. In fact, he’s pretty wicked on the power play — or he has been at the AHL level anyway.

The Coyotes did give Gormley some playing time on the man-advantage. Here he is taking advantage of that:

Gormley’s not big, but his skill and poise allow him to maintain good positioning. He’s got a good shot on net, but more than that, he’s just a good puck-moving defenseman.

Brandon Gormley isn’t overly physical, but he can lay a hit when necessary:

Brandon Gormley’s Role with the Avalanche

The Brandon Gormley acquisition caught me by surprise — mostly. I had just completed a post about the Tyson BarrieNikita Zadorov pairing, and thinking of those two polar opposites was worrying me.

Denver Post reporter Mike Chambers thinks Gormley will start out with the San Antonio Rampage, the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL-affiliate. He points to the fact that Gormley is basically a left-shooting Stefan Elliott (who is a right-shooting defenseman.)

I think that’s what might give Gormley his chance to make the Colorado Avalanche. I don’t know if he’s going to replace Zadorov with Barrie, but it does give head coach Patrick Roy more options.

For example, I could see Roy replacing Zadorov with the veteran Brad Stuart. A third pairing comprised of Gormley and Zach Redmond is something of an upgrade on last season’s Redmond-Nick Holden pairing. Zadorov, three years younger than Gormley and without so much poise, might be the one who ends up down San Antone way.

Of course, Gormley’s going to have to get past the much-beleaguered prospect Chris Bigras, who’s similar in style and who’s made no bones about gunning for a spot on the Avalanche.

So, essentially, Brandon Gormley’s role on the team is to throw a little more doubt in the Colorado blue line — the good kind of doubt for a change.

Next: Avs Must Extend EJ's Contract

More from Mile High Sticking