Colorado Avalanche defensive prospect Chris Bigras was a big winner at the second day of rookie training camp.
Bigras is a smallish defenseman — 6-foot-1, 189 pounds — that made a big impression with the OHL Owen Sound Attack last season. While skating as an alternate captain, Bigras earned a ridiculous 71 points (20 goals, 51 assists) in just 62 games.
At the conclusion of the OHL season, Bigras signed on with the Lake Erie Monsters, then the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. In seven games he earned four points.
Chris Bigras is touted as a two-way defenseman, but his smallish size and sharp scoring ability suggest offensive defenseman.
Either way, Bigras impressed at camp:
That last comment is rather startling — Chris Bigras may be skating better than some of the veterans. Luckily this Avalanche fan and season ticker holder was ind enough to include some video:
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Chris Bigras is making a big show of representing at this year’s rookie camp. After all, he talked to hockey reporter Rick Sadowski about how he had every intention of making the team:
"“My thought process is making the team come September, that’s where my focus is at. I’ll probably have to leap a few players in order to make it this year. It’s something you look into, but at the end of the day everyone has to earn a spot.”"
Well, there are some players on the blue line who probably don’t have to earn their spot anymore — specifically Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie. It’s also highly unlikely Francois Beauchemin is going anywhere. Everyone else, though… well, Bigras may have a point.
Chris Bigras worked hard over the summer. In addition to working on his skating, he hired a new strength and conditioning coach, Andy O’Brien. O’Brien also works with fellow Avalanche players Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson.
Nonetheless, Bigras knows the time is now. There are at least eight players gunning for those remaining five spots on the Colorado Avalanche’s defensive roster. That list includes fellow prospects such as Duncan Siemens and Mason Geertsen plus the newly acquired Brandon Gormley.
However, that list also includes some veterans such as Brad Stuart and Nate Guenin. Neither is popular with Avalanche fans, but both are popular with head coach Patrick Roy, who makes the final decision on player personnel. Nick Holden, Zach Redmond and the newly acquired Nikita Zadorov — who has GM Joe Sakic’s confidence — are also major contenders.
Chris Bigras told Mike Chambers of the Denver Post that he’s confident in the development he made over the summer and previous season. He intends to “open some eyes” at camp.
Though he’s definitely opened some Avalanche fan’s eyes, the big guys in the big chairs will have to make that determination. Veteran and contract statuses may dictate Bigras heads down to San Antonio to play with Colorado’s new AHL affiliate, the Rampage.
He’s philosophical about that possibility. He told Chambers:
"“I want to do all I can to make the team. If it doesn’t work out I’ll go to San Antonio and continue to take the advise that they give me and build off that.”"
I’m guessing Chris Bigras will start the season in San Antonio because the Colorado Avalanche are very protective of their young talent. Bigras has only skated professionally in seven games. However, if he shows well in the preseason, he could very well become the Avalanche’s first call-up.
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