New Hockeys Future prospect rankings...Avs move up from #23 to #20:
Strengths: Wojtek Wolski will play his first full year in the NHL this season, and should be a contender for the Calder Trophy as top rookie. Paul Stastny has made the team as a rookie and is contributing as well. Injuries opened the door to allow Brad Richardson into the Avalanche lineup last year. Most of the remaining forwards of note play in the NCAA, which means the Avalanche can wait for them to develop and not use up valuable years of pro experience under the new CBA.
Weaknesses: Top goaltending prospect Peter Budaj has been inconsistent between the pipes for Colorado and there is little behind him. The Avalanche blue line is also woefully thin, with Johnny Boychuk the only prospect who is anywhere close to making the jump to the NHL. The Avalanche will need to upgrade their prospects on defense, especially with an aging blue line in the NHL.
Top Five Prospects: Wojtek Wolski (LW), Ryan Stoa (C), Paul Stastny (C), Chris Stewart (RW), Brad Richardson (C)