Colorado Avalanche prospect Chris Bigras is having a solid season playing for the Owen Sound attack of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) averaging over a point per game. The young prospect nearly made the big club at the beginning of last season before being returned to the OHL late in the preseason. This season however, Bigras was sent back much earlier and failed to make Canada’s World Junior Championship team. As a result the only Avalanche prospect to make their respected World Junior roster was American Will Butcher.
36 games into the 2014-2015 season for the Attack, Bigras has 12 goals and 29 assists putting him at 41 for the season. All of last season Bigras managed only 26 points and finished the year at a -11. So far this season not only is Bigras up in points but he has greatly improved his +/-. The 6 foot tall defenseman has a plus/minus rating of +4.
While Bigras point production is the highlight of his play he has proven he is not afraid to defend himself or his teammates when it is necessary.
The Current Defensemen
Bigras was selected by the Avalanche in the 2nd round of the 2013 NHL Draft, 32nd overall. The Avalanche currently poses a roster that most agree is very lacking on the back end. With players such as Nate Guenin, Nick Holden and Zach Redmond who are for the most part unknown names in the NHL. Guenin and Holden were both signed before last season and the impression they left had them in the lineup for the entirety of last season. This season has been different for Holden however. As he and Redmond have spent good portions of the season as healthy scratches. Redmond was an under the radar signing by the Avalanche on the first day of free agency. Redmond played only 10 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season, and in 25 games this season Redmond currently has 10 points. These three players have 296 games of NHL experience between them. Of Holden’s personal 101 games played, 94 have been in the last two season both of which were with the Avalanche.
The play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been stellar, when he is healthy, in spite of this defense lacking roster but it does lead people to ask how good last years Vezina finalist would be if he had proper defense in front of him. Youngster Tyson Barrie has come into his own the past two seasons and recently named NHL All Star Eric Johnson has finally started to play as a former #1 pick is expected to. both Johnson and Barrie are signed to the Avalanche through the end of the 2015-2016 season. With the production both players have shown the past two seasons there is little doubt that the Avalanche would want to retain both men for many seasons to come.
If the Avalanche can retain Johnson and Barrie and Bigras gets to a place where he is NHL ready, the Avalanche defensive core suddenly looks like a bright spot. It is till unclear what the Avalanche plan to do with Holden and Guenin and veteran Jan Hejda who is an UFA at the conclusion of this season as it stands right now.
I am a University of New Mexico journalism student who has been watching NHL hockey since 1996 and I started playing hockey myself in 2003. I have covered both college soccer and volleyball in the past and I also contribute to a NASCAR news website.