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Chris Bigras is going to be a breakout star for the Colorado Avalanche

At 22-years old Bigras is going to be a key piece for the Avalanche for a long time

NHL: Preseason-Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Two seasons ago, Chris Brigras played 31 games with the Colorado Avalanche - he wasn’t ready.

Only a few months removed from the OHL, Bigras was up in the NHL after only 44 professional games played. With a very high 60% oZS%, he was playing 13 sheltered minutes a game and was trying to develop his game while being thrown into the fire. He contributed nearly nothing to the team’s offensive game, but in his half-season, Bigras was one of the better defensive players on the team - he trailed only Nikita Zadorov and Brandon Gormley in terms of 5v5 corsi-against.

Then came the 2016-17 season, one in which the Avalanche were hoping he would take a big step in his development. Veterans were brought in, so Bigras was given the time to develop properly - by getting big minutes in the AHL and playing in situations he wouldn’t get to with the Avs.

He spent the entire season in the AHL and so far this fall, it looks like that was for the best. Chris Bigras looked like an NHL defender at training camp. In a crowded group of young defenders that were expected to fight for jobs with the Avalanche, Bigras stood out. He jumped over Anton Lindholm on the depth chart and more than proved that he more than belongs in the NHL.

Through the preseason, he was very noticeable in every game he played - for the right reasons. He’s got a simple game that thrives off of his tremendous hockey IQ and quick decision making. He is able to skate with the puck or jump into the play - but he picks his spots. He’s smart enough to pull it back when need-be and has the passing ability to move the puck when pushing it isn’t the right choice.

“He’s a coach’s dream. He’s a mature and ultra-responsible defender who excels because of his ability to think the game. Makes great safe and reliable plays consistently and reads the play effectively. He’s got a good smooth all-around technical skill package and stabilizes and insulates his defensive partners extremely well.” - ISS head scout Ross MacLean

That last part is intriguing. Bigras “stabilizes and insulates his defensive partners extremely well” - that is exactly what this Avalanche team needs. With guys like Barberio and Barrie that like to take a lot chances, a stabilizing presence next to them could give them a longer leach from the coaches. Knowing you can count on Bigras to be sound positionally allows you to let an elite offensive talent like Barrie roam a little more, both with and without the puck.

He had to get strong - and it looks like he did. Though he’s got size, Bigras had a hard time utilizing it properly and would often get outmuscled in junior. That isn’t a problem anymore. He’s matured physically and that will go a long way to helping him remain consistent through a full NHL season.

Bigras put up huge offensive numbers in the OHL, but that’s not going to be his m/o in the pros. His shot isn’t good enough to be a big threat to score from the back end. That said Bigras will score his fair share of goals by jumping into the play when the opportunity presents itself.

He is also the kind of defender that will pick up a lot of secondary assists because if his ability to be smart in starting the breakout.

We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. Bigras is still young an only has 32 NHL games under his belt, but given his pedigree and his development curve, it’s not too much to think that he will be a huge part of the team this season.

A future blueline that consists of Bigras, Nicolas Meloche, Cale Makar and Conor Timmins is something Avs fans can get very excited about.

Chris Bigras is the fist of that group to arrive. He’s over past concussion issues and appears to be ready to take the next step in his development. Luckily for him, the opportunity is there for the taking.

I legitimately think Bigras will break out beyong most expectations this season. Many Avs fans know he can be good, now it’s time to sit back and watch him open eyes around the league.