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Colorado Eagles 3 stars for December

Brief stints in the NHL lead to inspired play in the AHL.

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Eagles continue to deal with lineup and roster adversity now adding several bouts of illness to the list which has affected several players in the month of December. Yet, the Eagles remain a strong team in the Western Conference with an 18-10-2 record, although they have conceded the Pacific Divisio lead with a pair of recent losses.

It was a difficult task to choose stars for the month with all the best players on the team spending time in the NHL there wasn’t time to pad the resume. Still, a few players in the Avalanche system deserve recognition.

First Star - Cal Burke - 28 GP, 9G, 9A, 18P

The unlikeliest of heroes has been quietly standing out for the Eagles which earned an unexpected recall to the Avalanche for his NHL debut. Burke’s four goals and five assists in 10 games during the month of December leads the team as he’s jumped into a top six role. He is approaching 26 years of age so the development upside may be limited but Burke is showing enough skill to possibly help the Avalanche in a fourth line role.

Second Star - Shane Bowers - 16 GP, 4G, 6A, 10P

It was a major disappointment when he left the game injured early on in his Colorado Avalanche NHL debut. But, Bowers beat his estimated six week recovery timeline and got in several weeks of play with the Colorado Eagles before the new year. He hit the ground running in his return with four points in six games and has been a steady contributor for the Eagles who continue their strong season and should be looked at as ready to get a second chance in Denver.

Bowers working hard at the net front allowed him to be in position for this rebound. Also, peep the great assist to start the play from Jean-Luc Foudy.

Third Star - Nate Clurman - 18 GP, 0G, 3A, 3P

The intention may have been to keep Clurman in the ECHL for the bulk of the season but with the injury explosion and mainstay defensemen Rob Hamilton and Danila Zhuravlyov both electing to play the remainder of the season in the KHL there suddenly was a big need on the backend. Clurman has stepped up and filled in the shoes of a regular AHL defenseman since his recall in mid November. While production has still eluded him for the most part Clurman has found his way to three assists on this low scoring team. The NHL upside and prospects for Clurman might be capped as he approaches his 25th birthday this spring but a player the Eagles can rely on is something worthwhile to the organization.

Honorable Mention - Jean-Luc Foudy - 22 GP, 5G, 13A, 18P

Due to spending the bulk of December with the Avalanche there just haven’t been enough games played for Foudy to achieve star status but he’s well on his way to a smashing return from the NHL with four highlight worthy assists in four games. Check out that assist on Burke’s goal above as an example of the heat Foudy can bring. Hopefully after a little AHL tune-up Foudy gets another shot with the Avalanche as someone who has real promise to graduate from the system with a proactive development plan.