Avs Get Glimpse Of Future At Development Camp
The Colorado Avalanche wrapped up its 2007 development camp on July 13 at the
The six-day event featured 23 of
“We want to help them in transitioning from the amateur to the pro world,” said
“One thing the Avalanche organization prides itself on is the time and money we’re spending on the future of the franchise. Sometimes that future is sooner than later. And our job as a staff is to really educate them, give them a chance to ask questions. During the season it’s so performance-based. It’s a pressured environment. Here it’s not and we really get to know them and help in some of their deficiencies.”
Colorado’s first-round pick in 2006, forward Chris Stewart, signed a three-year entry level contract with the Avalanche in April after completing his third season with the Kingston Frontenacs. Stewart was able to play five regular-season games and one playoff game for
“Stewy going to the minor leagues the last couple weeks last season was very beneficial,” Billington said. “I think the more we can acclimate them to the demands placed upon them at the next level, the better chance they’ll have to succeed. Certainly you want a player who’s progressing well, developing well. You don’t want to hinder or impede his progress. At the same token, the main goal is for him to be contributing in the National Hockey League. That’s why we drafted him, that’s why we spend the time we do with these kids.”
Stewart served as
Stewart knows he still has work to do, but that’s not stopping him from trying to make the Avalanche’s opening night roster.
“It’s been a great week,” Stewart said of the development camp. “Obviously being a No. 1 draft pick there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of expectation. Especially with their first rounder this year being a college guy (Kevin Shattenkirk, who is heading to
The Avalanche selected Stewart as the 18th overall pick in June of 2006 after a breakout season in which he had 37 goals, 87 points and 118 penalty minutes in 62 games for
“I think (Chris) is progressing on the right path,” Billington added. “As time goes, it’s really getting more detailed and detailed in the areas he needs to work on. We feel confident we’ve identified those areas and he understands them and we’ll work together.”
“T.J has done a good job,” Billington said. “He went back for his senior year and had a strong year for himself. T.J. is a very good prospect for us. I think he’s matured and is very understanding of what he needs to do to be effective.”
Hensick was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as both a sophomore (2004-05) and a senior (2006-07). He was just the third player in CCHA history—and the first forward—to earn First or Second Team all-conference honors in each of his four years in college and became the first Wolverine to record 40 or more points in each of his four seasons since Brendan Morrison from 1994-97.
Assisting Billington with the direction of the camp was Joe Sacco and Sylvain Lefebvre, who will coach the Avalanche’s new AHL affiliate in Cleveland this year, as well as Avs goaltending coach
“I always challenge our players that if you look at the people working with them, the Steve Konowalchuks, the Joe Saccos, the Sylvain Lefebvres, Jeff Hackett, none of us were finished products coming out,” said Billington, who spent parts of 15 seasons as a goaltender in the NHL. “We needed a lot of work at 19, 20, 21 years old. They’re probably right where they should be. They’re good talents that need nurturing, need environment, need structure, need direction and it’s our responsibility to provide them with that. I’m very confident with the staff we have doing that.”
Rookie camp is right around the corner for Hensick, Stewart and many of the prospects who attended this week’s camp. While the summer session is more of a learning process, training camp is where jobs will be won and lost. It’s a kind of pressure that Stastny knows all too well, having earned a roster spot with an outstanding camp last fall.
“There’s always a couple things you take out of (development camp) that are good for the future,” he says. “You learn things on the ice, a lot of things you need to get better at, but to have those different seminars is good.”
As for a piece of advice for his fellow prospects, the Avalanche center said: “get the most out of it this week and train hard for the next eight to 10 weeks before training camp. And whether you’re at camp, college or at juniors, have another good year because you are part of the future of the Colorado Avalanche.”