Colorado Avalanche Lose Director of Player Development

CENTENNIAL, CO - September 16: Colorado Avalanche rookie camp at the Family Sports Center September 15, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - September 16: Colorado Avalanche rookie camp at the Family Sports Center September 15, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche are losing their Director of Player Development, which means they’ll be hunting for a new one.

The Colorado Avalanche are going to be looking for a new Director of Player Development. David Oliver, who’s been serving in that role since 2014, will be joining the New York Rangers as an assistant coach.

Among the Avs faithful, Oliver may be a little bit of a controversial staff member. I doubt most Avs fans could pick him out of a lineup — or could have articulated who he was prior to today. However, most of us have an opinion about how player development has been going.

Oliver had actually been with the Avalanche organization for a long time — 11 seasons. Prior to serving as Director of Player Development, he was the Director of AHL Operations for the Avs’ affiliate at the time, the Lake Erie Monsters.

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David Oliver was the Director of Player Development and General Manager of the Monsters from 2007-11. As former Avs writer Ryan Boulding points out, that means Oliver directly oversaw the development of the following players:

  • Chris Stewart
  • Brad Richardson
  • David Jones
  • Johnny Boychuk
  • Cody McLeod
  • Jose Theodore
  • Ryan Wilson
  • Kevin Shattenkirk
  • Kevin Porter
  • TJ Galiardi

Say what you will, but those players had at least some contribution to the Colorado Avalanche.

That said, Oliver and former Avalanche goalie Craig Billington have been in charge of developing Avs players for more that a decade. And that development hasn’t been as smooth as you’d like in that time period. The depth has been not-deep — it’s been shallow. While that’s not all on the development staff, they certainly play a key role.

As Director of AHL Operations from 2011-14, he oversaw the development of Brad Malone, Tyson Barrie and Calvin Pickard.  Also Duncan Siemens, Andrew Agozzino and Paul Carey, who weren’t so successful with the Avs.

Recent years have seen changes in development. I’d say the last three years, with Oliver as Director of Player Development for the entire Colorado Avalanche, we’ve started to see some improvement. His development staff has included two development consultants — Brett Clark and Brian Willsie — as well as skating coach Tracy Tutton.

To be honest, it was probably time for a change. The Avalanche tend to promote from within. I’d expect a restructuring to accommondate one of the existing staff as Director of Player Development for the Colorado Avalanche. With the changeover of AHL affiliates, it’s hard to pinpoint who’s going to do what next season — indeed, the Colorado Eagles website is devoid of Hockey Operation Staff listings, stating that the staff will be announced sometime this summer.

Next: Prospect Update on AHL Players

My hope is that the team hires more staff. In doing research for another story, I discovered that some of the most successful teams had a far more extensive staff than Colorado.