All good teams are built from the goal out. Colorado may not have the best goaltending in the league, but they do have several top-level prospects, which will be battling it out for playing time in Lake Erie or Denver (CHL).
Avalanche goalie prospects start and end with Calvin Pickard. He was drafted 49th overall in 2010 from the Seattle Thunderbirds. He is the record holder in the WHL for most saves in a career and top five in total minutes played. That is because Seattle management couldn't put a respectable team around him. He is a butterfly style goalie with good form and a puck-stopping machine. He is a little on the smaller side at six foot, 202 pounds. But he is a battler and chances are he will be the starter in Lake Erie. The only downside is there is neither a goaltending coach nor an experienced backup for the Monsters. Hopefully, he won't be overwhelmed in the AHL.
Behind him are a trio of netminders that come from different places with different talent levels. Kent Patterson and Kieran Millan are both coming off very successful college careers with Minnesota and Boston, repectively. Just like Pickard, they are around six foot, and 200 pounds. So size is an issue one again. Patterson was a workhorse for the Golden Gophers his senior season, starting all 43 games. He has good athleticism and positioning. His biggest problem is his inconsistent rebound control.
Millan was a four-year starter for the Terriers, winning the NCAA title as a freshman. He is athletic and has great reflexes. Lack of size and inconsistency are his two biggest weaknesses.
Sami Aittokallio rounds out the goaltending quartet. He played overseas for Ilves Tampere in Finland. Also, he won a bronze medal for Finland at the 2010 IIHF under-18 championships and helped lead them to fourth place at the 2012 world junior championships. He has phenomenal reflexes along with being quick and athletic, like most Finnish goalies. The technical side of his game needs work, which he will get playing over here this season.
Prediction: Lake Erie – Pickard (starter), Aittokallio (backup). Denver or ECHL?- Patterson and Millan will split starting time.Tags: Calvin Pickard, Colorado, Colorado Avalanche, Hockey, Ilves Tampere, Kent Patterson, Kieran Millan, NHL, Sami Aittokallio