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The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - July 15th, 2013

Doug Pensinger

Bolts by the Bay has an interesting article looking at forwards drafted in the first round vs defenseman drafted in the first round.

The moral of this story is, if amateur scouts are unanimously projecting a forward to be a franchise player, as they were with three forwards in this year’s draft? You can rest assured they’re going to be pretty good at the very least.

Not so with defenseman. Defensemen are a whole different kettle of wax and ball of fish. They continue to give amateur scouts fits. And no matter how many scouts tout a young defensemen to be the next be-all, end-all of blue liners, you probably shouldn’t believe it until you see it. History has shown us over and over again that defensemen are mysterious creatures that can’t simply be measured against each other to figure out which one’s going to be best in five, seven, or ten years.

For those who, because of me watched Kurt Etchegary closely during the draft and wondered why he didn't get drafted, turns out it might have to do with a medical clearance not making the NHL teams' hands.

It was a health-related issue, but not one about the arthroscopic hip surgery that caused him to miss three months of last season.

It turns out, that during the NHL Combine in Toronto, tests had revealed an inflammation near Etchegary’s heart, a problem he says came from a late-season rib injury. Clubs interested in him wanted confirmation in the form of a medical clearance, which Etchegary obtained from the Remparts’ medical staff. It was in turn forwarded to Central Scouting, but Etchegary says, because of miscommunication, it didn’t get into the hands of NHL teams.

A story about a Colorado Avalanche draft pick.

For Mason Geertsen his hockey career started long before the idea of being drafted to the Colorado Avalanche was a possibility, or even a goal, and when the best coach a boy could ask for was his dad.

“He started playing hockey before he even knew his colours,” says Mason’s father Larry Geertsen, who started teaching Mason at age two and a half. “I’d tell him to go to the blue line and he wouldn’t even know where to go.”

From the backyard rink Mason moved into the Omniplex when he joined Drayton Valley Minor Hockey, and from there he flourished, advanced and eventually made his way to bantam hockey in Leduc.

Yup, I still love that Nathan MacKinnon was the Avs pick. This article has a four minute video interview with him.

MacKinnon is from Pittsburgh Penguins star Sydney Crosby’s hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia in Canada, and many find a lot of similarities between the two, which can be a tough comparison for a teenager who hasn’t even played in an NHL game.

“That comparison wouldn’t have ever been made if I was from even an hour away. It’s obviously flattering but I’m used to it now,” MacKinnon said. “I’ve heard that I’m the next new Crosby for all my life and obviously it’s going to get brought up a little bit more since I went first.”

He said there were plenty of other players who went first who are very talented who aren’t compared to Crosby because they aren’t from the same town.

“I think he’s the best in the world right now; obviously tough shoes to fill, but I’m just excited to be part of the Colorado Avalanche.”