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Prospect News and Notes

Pracey Let Go

Thanks to some great work by the folks at Mile High Hockey, we now know that the Avalanche have dismissed Rick Pracey from the organization as its Director of Amateur Scouting. Be sure to look at the comments section from this Mile High Hockey piece, as it seems as though the team has been disappointed in its amateur scouting for some time. Through Pracey was frequently spotted at Avalanche training camp in September.

The lack of success for the Lake Erie Monsters was likely a contributing factor. Plus the Avs European scouting hasn't been much to gloat about recently; the signing of free agents Borna Rendulic, Roman Will and Dennis Everberg aside.

Here is an interesting snipet from Bruce Garrioch's Sunday column:

Odd timing but the Avalanche quietly thanked director of amateur scouting Rick Pracey for his service last week. He has a strong drafting record, but scouts say he has been on the hotseat for awhile. The Avs sent out a notice to all 29 teams last week saying Pracey is no longer with them and is available for hire ...
Source: Ottawa Sun

Monster Recall

News of Semyon Varlamov's placement on injured reserve sent a chill down the spines of Avalanche fans this week. The injury Reto Berra suffered in Thursday's loss against Ottawa certainly did not help. The Avs were forced to recall Calvin Pickard once Varlamov was placed on IR (sending Dennis Everberg down to the Monsters in his stead).

Pickard, a second round pick in 2010, came in for relief of Berra, stopping 23 of 27 shots in his NHL debut. In his first NHL start against Montreal on Saturday, Pickard was solid with a 33 save performance in a 3-2 loss against the Habs.

After the loss to Ottawa on Thursday, the Avs recalled Sami Aittokallio from Lake Erie. Aittokallio backed up Pickard on Saturday in Montreal. Francois Tremblay was recalled from Fort Wayne (ECHL) to the Monsters.

Everberg Gets His First

Dennis Everberg created a bit of a buzz when he made the opening night roster for the Avalanche. Yet, injuries forced the Avs to make some recalls and Everberg was sent down to Cleveland. In his second game with the Monsters, Everberg notched his first professional goal in a 7-2 loss against Chicago on Saturday.

Bleackley to Participate in Subway Super Series

On Thursday, the WHL announced their roster for the upcoming 2014 Subway Super Series, which is set to begin on November 10th. Conner Bleackley was named to the roster.

Complete Schedule:

Game 1 - Monday, November 10 at Saskatoon, SK
Game 2 - Tuesday, November 11 at Brandon, MB
Game 3 - Thursday, November 13 at Peterborough, ON
Game 4 - Monday, November 17 at Kingston, ON
Game 5 - Tuesday, November 18 at Bathurst, NB
Game 6 - Thursday, November 20 at Rimouski, QC

Avs CHL Prospects Stats Update

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Monsters Notes

2014-15 Lake Erie Monsters Opening Night Roster

With the regular season underway for the parent club, the Monsters will get their season going tonight, when they pay a visit to rival Grand Rapids at 5:00 PM MST. Here is a look at their opening night roster:

Forwards

Andrew Agozzino
Troy Bourke
Paul Carey
Trevor Cheek
Mitchell Heard
Garrett Meurs
Reid Petryk
Kenny Ryan
Mike Sgarbossa
Colin Smith
Dan Maggio
Joey Hishon
Samuel Henley
Borna Rendulic
Michael Schumacher
Ben Street
Tomas Vincour

Defensemen

Gabe Beaupre
Cody Corbett
Stefan Elliott
Markus Lauridsen
Karl Stollery
Maxim Noreau
Bruno Gervais
Duncan Siemens

Goaltenders

Sami Aittokallio
Calvin Pickard
Roman Will

Lettermen

Wearing the "C" this season for the Monsters will be free agent defenseman Bruno Gervais. Andrew Agozzino and Ben Street will serve as alternate captains.

Monsters Hope Additional Size Will Add to Wins

A year ago, the Monsters roster averaged 6-feet, .04 inches, and 191 pounds. This season, the final roster released Thursday averages 6 feet, .08 inches and 193 pounds.
Small differences in the overall averages, but huge differences when it comes to individual players (two who stand 6-5, for instance). And an enormous difference in the type of game the Monsters hope to play this season.
Size, that most unteachable of qualities, is what Chynoweth hopes will mean a difference this season.
"I think you need a mix," Chynoweth said of the roster makeup. "You need some smaller, skilled guys, you need some bigger guys. You need a good mix. I think we have that this year. We can play physical when we need to, and we can play skilled, as well."

Source: Cleveland.com

Fort Wayne

One player of note missing from the Monsters opening night roster is former Minnesota Gopher, Nate Condon. Condon will begin his professional career with the Komets.

Avs CHL Prospects Stats Update

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2014 Prospect Signing Tracker (updated)

Updated:  Martin, Wyman

CHL (June 1, 2014)*

Joseph Blandisi, Barrie (OHL) -- unsigned (free agent after non-selection in 2014 NHL Entry Draft)

Troy Bourke, Prince George (WHL) -- signed a three-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 05/29/2014.

Michael Clarke, Peterborough (OHL) -- unsigned (free agent after non-selection in 2014 NHL Entry Draft)

NCAA (August 15, 2014)*

Nate Condon, Minnnesota (Big Ten) -- signed a one-year contact with Lake Erie (AHL) on 09/02/2014.

Luke Moffatt, Michigan (Big Ten) -- signs a tryout with Frölunda (SHL) on 09/03/2014.

Gus Young, Yale (ECAC) -- signed a one-year contract with Worcester (AHL) on 08/19/2014.

*Avs lose rights if players not signed by specified deadline date.

Other Signings/ Transactions

Cody Corbett, Edmonton (WHL) -- signed a three-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 04/04/2014.

Dennis Everberg, Rögle (SWE) -- signed a two-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 04/16/2014.

Samuel Henley, Val-d'Or (QMJHL) -- signed a three-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 04/28/2014

Roman Will, BK Mlada Boleslav (Czech2) -- signed a two-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 05/15/2014.

Borna Rendulic, HPK (Liiga) -- signed a two-year entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 05/19/2014.

Bruno Gervais, Philadelphia (NHL) -- signed a one-year (two-way) contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/01/2014.

Ben Street, Calgary (NHL) -- signed a one-year (two-way) contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/01/2014.

Maxim Noreau, Ambri-Piotta (NLA) -- signed a two-year (one-way) contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/07/2014.

Tomas Vincour, HC Kometa Brno (Czech) -- signed a one-year (two-way) contract with Colorado (NHL) on 08/29/2014.

Spencer Martin, Mississauga (OHL) -- signed a three-year (two-way) entry level contract with Colorado (NHL) on 10/03/2014.

Expiring NHL Contracts (In the System (two-way contracts)/ Players Coming off ELC)

Tyson Barrie (RFA) -- signed a two-year (one-way) contract with Colorado (NHL) on 09/04/2014.

Paul Carey (RFA) -- signed a one-year (qualifying offer), two-way, contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/15/2014. 

Guillaume Desbiens (UFA) -- signed a one-year contract with Dornbirner EC (Austria) on 08/01/2014.

Stefan Elliott (RFA) -- signed a one-year (qualifying offer), two-way, contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/15/2014.

Joey Hishon (RFA) -- signed a one-year (qualifying offer), two-way, contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/15/2014.

Matt Hunwick (UFA) -- signed a one-year contract with New York (Rangers - NHL) on 07/01/2014.

Bryan Lerg (UFA) -- signed a one-year contact with San Jose (NHL) on 07/10/2014.

Brad Malone (UFA) -- signed a two-year contract with Carolina (NHL) on 07/01/2014.

Kieran Millan (UFA) -- announced retirement from professional hockey on 07/25/2014.

Mark Olver (UFA) -- signed a one-year contract with Sochi (KHL) on 05/26/2014.

Kent Patterson (UFA) -- signed a one-year contract with Orlando (ECHL) on 08/04/2014.

Karl Stollery (RFA) -- signed a one-year (qualifying offer), two-way, contract with Colorado (NHL) on 07/15/2014.

David Van der Gulik (UFA) -- signed a one-year contract with Los Angeles (NHL) on 07/01/2014.

J.T. Wyman (UFA) -- participating in training camp with the Utica Comets (AHL).

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Avs Rookie Camp Day Two Notes

There was a bit of a delay to the start of day two of Avalanche rookie camp. However, the atmosphere was jovial. By 10:30 AM all of Monday’s participants were skating on the ice. There was however a new addition. Alexis Pepin, who is nursing a shoulder injury, took part of the beginning of the practice wearing a red non-contact sweater.

The coaches, which included Adam Foote today, demanded perfection from the players. The crispness of the beginning of the session was somewhat lacking (though ice conditions certainly did not help). After about 20 minutes into the practice, Alexis Pepin appeared to be laboring and left the ice and headed to the locker room. His status is unknown. Also missing from the festivities is center Julien Nantel, who is recovering from an undisclosed injury.

Throughout the practice, the coaches had little problem interrupting drills for some on ice learning. At the conclusion of the session, the players participated in a bag skate that lasted a good 10 minutes.

Here are my thoughts on some players who I thought stood out. If you have a question about a particular player, please post a comment below or hit me up on Twitter (@Jori5280).

Conner Bleackley

The Avs 2014 first rounder has the skill set that makes a camp such as this a less than preferable setting. He’s a more effective skater than given credit and he’s not afraid to battle in the corners and in front of the net. It’s really difficult to grade him until he skates with the veterans this weekend. Some of the defenders, such as Duncan Siemens and Mason Geertsen, are giving him a good challenge.

Duncan Siemens

Siemens, who just turned 21, is at a precarious point of his career. He was limited to 46 games with the Lake Erie Monsters last season and faces an uphill battle to earn a position with the Avs opening night roster. Siemens is likely to be an injury call up, but he has looked strong in the first two days of rookie camp; physically standing up to guys like Bleackley. There were some cracks in the wall on Tuesday, specifically on two-on-two drills in which Nate Condon blew by him to earn a great scoring chance. Yet, he’s healthy and strong which will only bode well for him this season with the Monsters.

Colin Smith

One of the darlings of Monday’s session, Smith was held relatively in check on Tuesday morning. His skating was not as fluid and his lack of focus was noticeable in receiving passes (to be fair, the ice conditions could be a contributing factor, but his play was not as crisp). He was easily contained by larger defenders and had difficulty getting shots on net.

Chris Bigras

Like last year, Bigras is putting up a strong push in camp. Bigras has already earned an entry-level contract (which the Avs can allow to slide for another season). While he isn’t the most physical of defenders, he’s smart positionally (stick work continues to be a strength). Though, Trevor Cheek did get the better of him in one of the drills this morning.

Mason Geertsen

Mason Geertsen doesn’t steal headlines like more flashy prospects; few defensive defenseman do. Yet, like Duncan Siemens he could one day fill a needed role as a rugged defender for the Avalanche down the road. He’s a strong and physical presence and at the peak of conditioning. He was one of the few players who got through the Avs post practice bag skate without gasping for air. Geertsen was successful in keeping most of the forwards he faced in check; specifically Bleackley and Rendulic.

Borna Rendulic

Rendulic is an intriguing talent; a strong skater with a nice set of hands. He is good at stabilizing defenders on the rush. However, in tighter corners he has struggled. Naturally this will be adjustment playing on North American ice with more North American players.

Others who stood out in a positive light included Troy Bourke, Trevor Cheek, and Nate Condon.

See Also: Rookie Camp Day 2 Review from Mile High Hockey

Avs Rookie Camp Day One Notes

I want to direct you to a great piece written by A.J. Haefele from Mile High Hockey on Monday's festivities. His views of many of the participants reflect my own. The second link is also from Mile High Hockey, which contains video clips.

Rookie Camp Day 1 Review

Rookie Camp Day 1 Video

The Avalanche invited 28 rookies to attend camp this year; which includes many draftees from the Avs 2013 and 2014 draft classes. Alexis Pepin, a fourth round pick from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, is not participating due to a shoulder injury.

Avs Rookie Camp Roster by Number

Avs Rookie Camp Roster by Position

Also not attendance are 2013 draftees in Will Butcher and Ben Storm; NCAA regulations require collegiate players to pay their own expenses in order to attend camp.

Nate Condon, Marcus Power, Michael Schumacher, Joey Leach, and Francois Tremblay are all signed to AHL contracts with the Lake Erie Monsters for the upcoming season. The addition of Tremblay and off-season signing of Roman Will will make the goaltending battle, along with Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio, an interesting one for the Monsters.

Are Brett Clark's playing days behind him? 

Clark, a former Av, played in 53 games for the Lake Erie Monsters last season. Clark was one of the coaches on the ice for Monday's camp session.

Some notable standouts from Monday included Avs 2014 first round pick Conner Bleackley, Borna Rendulic, Colin Smith, Chris Bigras, Duncan Siemens, and Mason Geertsen. Tough first days for Max Iafrate and Kyle Wood. It's important to note that the coaching staff had the players go through a specific set of drills, rather than scrimmages. The standouts for day two are likely to change.