Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Observations and Quotes From The Final Day of Development Camp



Avalanche Development Camp

And just like that, Development Camp for the Colorado Avalanche has come and gone. There won’t be any actual hockey played until a lot of these same prospects show up for Rookie Camp in about two months.

And while the rest of Development Camp was just drills for players to work on the fundamentals of their game, it ended in a scrimmage on Wednesday night. Granted, the scrimmage was 4-on-4, and there wasn’t exactly a lot of physicality, but it was still the closest to “real” hockey we got all week.

From here, the players will head home for the rest of their summers, armed with the feedback the Avalanche gave them on what they need to work on.

“We do some screening. The same screening they do at the NHL combine to see where they’re at,” Avalanche Director of Pro Scouting Brian Willsie said. “A lot of them, it’s our first glimpse of them. We have our athletic therapists look at it, our strength and conditioning coaches. We have individual meetings with them. If there’s some deficiencies that we see, then we give them a plan for the summer, so that they’re taking away those red flags and getting ahead of things before they happen. So much of this is strength and conditioning, but also injury prevention.”

As for the scrimmage, here are my thoughts…

  • Team Burgundy ended up winning 5-0 over Team White. Matt Steinburg scored one goal, while Jeremy Hanzel and Hunter Anderson both scored two.
  • Sam Malinski was on Team White, and didn’t do a ton offensively, but was impressed with his zone entry denials at the defensive blueline. There were a few times where players would try to skate around him, but he just stayed with their bodies and didn’t let them get anywhere. He did try to go between the legs a few times in the offensive zone, but nothing came of it.
  • Everything about Ondrej Pavel‘s game is professional, and he’s very vocal on the ice, communicating with everyone where to be. But if he’s going to make the NHL, he’ll need to show more offense, as there are concerns about how much he has at the next level. He missed a few passes and flubbed a one-timer. I looked over and saw Jared Bednar watching him intently, as he was one of the few guys who would stand in front of the net.
  • Jeremy Hanzel scored two late in the game on the same shift, and almost had one earlier in the game. After putting the puck between someone’s legs at the offensive blueline, he went to the net on a give-and-go with a teammate, but missed wide. He impressed the staff, but I’m wondering if it’s now a numbers game in terms of him turning pro. The Avalanche have a lot of bodies set to play in the AHL. One of the more impressive skaters at camp.
  • Mikhail Gulyayev’s strong skating led to him getting chances, including a breakaway in the first period. He missed the net several times, but his ability to move is what even gave him those opportunities. In the locker room, despite not speaking English, he’s extremely popular, high-fiving everyone, smiling non-stop, and and joking around.
  • Gianni Fairbrother was a throw-in last week in the trade with the Canadians, but he showed well. Coming off an injury, that’s a good thing, but he is a little older and has pro experience. He’s a smaller puck-mover who can skate well, so just another body to throw into the AHL mix.
  • When I asked if there was any concern of the injuries for Jean-Luc Foudy and the other missing players at camp bleeding into the regular season, the Avalanche were a little coy. “Our hope is that they’re all healthy for training camp. That’s the goal,” Willsie said.
  • Did not notice Jason Polin a ton. He took a big hit from Weinstein late (about the only hit thrown) and I couldn’t tell if he was joking around or actually mad about it.
  • Taylor Makar’s skating created multiple opportunities, including two breakaways. On one, he was stopped easily, and on the second, he drew a penalty shot. Unfortunately, he missed by a fair bit on that penalty shot. His speed has definitely improved, but there’s some pretty clear limitations to his game. Probably not easy to play in the shadow of a superstar brother. Here’s what Makar said he improved on from last year: “I think speed and strength, for me. I’m starting to learn a lot more how to use my body as a big guy. I’m putting that weight on, and trying to get down low in the corners and stuff like that.”
  • Ivan Zhigalov is an extremely raw goaltender who has a lot to work on, but his attitude is incredible. He flew 25 hours just to get to Development Camp, and just hours after arriving, had to do fitness testing. Not an easy task in altitude. He’ll be in Belarus next season. “It’s going to be a big step for me, to go from juniors to a pro league. It’s going to be my hometown, so it might be easier for me, and it’s going to be a new start for me, just to get better and just excited about that year.”

That’s about all she wrote. We’re now officially in the full blown off-season for the Colorado Avalanche, unless some things trickle in. I’ll have a Jeremy Hanzel story ready soon, as soon as I get done speaking to his head coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.