This Week in Avalanche Prospects

ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24: Eleventh overall pick Duncan Siemens by the Colorado Avalanche (C) stands on the podium for a photo with members of the Colorado Avalanche organization during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Greetings Avalanche fans! This is the first of a weekly series that will cover the news and events of Colorado Avalanche prospects throughout the season. Wont you join me on my journey into the depths of the Colorado Avalanche organization?

The Lake Erie Monsters opened their training camp last week with a host of 30 players. The biggest question for the Monsters at this point is goaltending. The Avalanche signed Cedrick Desjardins this summer, but the goalie is still recovering from a shoulder injury and is not expected to make an appearance until late October. That leaves the starting goaltending duties to Trevor Cann. Cann is the only other goaltender in Monsters camp that is currently under contract. The problem? Cann is in the third and final year of his entry-level contract and has yet to prove himself on the AHL level.

The Monsters look to have a strong team on paper, but Cann could be the weak link until Desjardins returns. I found it odd that the Avs didn't sign any other goaltenders (sans Desjardins) to compete with Cann in camp. Still, Cann has a huge opportunity. As he is in the final year of his contract, and with Calvin Pickard, Kieran Millan, Kent Patterson and Sami Aittokallio, all potentially factoring in the Lake Erie Monsters of 2012-13, Cann needs to make his case now in order to remain with the organization.

The Monsters lost both of their preseason games over the weekend to the Charlotte Checkers by scores of 2-0 and 3-1. Lake Erie will open the regular season on Friday against the Abbotsford Heat. The full Monsters roster is still up in the air as the Avalanche make the final cuts for their own opening night roster.

The Ontario Hockey League regular season has been underway for a couple of weeks. Garrett Meurs has chipped in a goal in the three games since his return from Avalanche training camp for the Plymouth Whalers. Defenseman Stephen Silas had a total of two goals during the 2010-11 regular season. He already has one tally and an assist in four games for the Belleville Bulls.

Both of the defensemen the Avs drafted in the late stages of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft are not offensive minded and that has shown thus far in the early stages of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season. Gabriel Beaupre is currently carrying a minus six rating in six games for Val-d'Or, without a point. Shawinigan defenseman Dillon Donnelly has also been held without a point, but does have 11 penalty minutes, including a fighting major.

After being returned to his Western Hockey League team, Duncan Siemens was named captain of the Saskatoon Blades for the 2011-12 season. The Blades are off to a 3-1 start and Siemens has two assists. In Seattle, Calvin Pickard is expected to, once again, see plenty of vulcanized rubber coming his way this season. Pickard has already seen 81 shots in his first two games; both losses. Troy Rutkowski has a goal and an assist in his first five games with the Portland Winterhawks.

Next week, I'll update you on the Avs three European prospects. Also, a look-in on the start of the NCAA regular season for a few Avalanche prospects. There will also be an update on the Lake Erie Monsters roster and a recap of their first two regular season games against the Abbotsford Heat.    
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