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Looking to make the leap: Stefan Elliott

Aug 7, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

Stefan Elliott Getty Images

During the 2011-12 season, Stefan Elliott made a name for himself as a 21-year-old with the Colorado Avalanche.

Elliott had offensive abilities from the blue line (four goals and 13 points in 39 games) and seemingly had upside that left them thinking they might have something special. Two seasons later, and just 19 NHL games since then, like the title of the post says, he’ll be looking to make the leap in 2014-15.

What’s hurt Elliott, now 23, is seeing other young defenseman seizing the opportunity when called up. Tyson Barrie, Ryan Wilson and Nick Holden are looking more like sure things to stay on Colorado’s blue line, and only Barrie is his equal in age. While Wilson and Holden are four years older, the Avs’ lack of defensive strength was part of their undoing last season.

With defensemen being counted on to carry and possess the puck more and more in today’s game, Elliott’s work during his rookie season showed he can do just that. As Behind The Net tabulated, his possession numbers were strong over those 39 games in 2011-12. In 18 games the following year, he was equally effective.

Last season, however, he played just one game for the Avs. While he had a bad possession night, he scored a goal in the final regular-season game of the year.

Colorado weren’t exactly darlings of advanced metrics, but if Elliott is given a bit more of a look, he might stand a chance to produce better than guys like Wilson or defensive-defensemen like Nate Guenin and Jan Hejda. Considering how poor the Avs were on defense, giving Elliott a shot to show he’s worth it might be Patrick Roy’s best move.

  1. jernster21 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Ryan Wilson was a healthy scratch for the majority of last year in favor of Guenin and Holden so unless his game dramatically changes I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s put on waivers after camp on the last year of his deal just like Matt Hunwick was last year. It’s tough to pay his 2.25mm while he plays in the minors (assuming he goes unclaimed) but if he doesn’t earn a role it’s worth it just to get someone like Elliott up instead. I don’t really know what Elliott’s deal is honestly; there was much more hype surrounding him than there was Barrie – he was supposed to be where Barrie is at right now but it never came to fruition. I think it’s mostly been a confidence thing and it’s not hard to see why during the Sacco era. Hopefully he has a good camp and can earn a spot but it’s going to be tough pushing out a Guenin or Holden after last year, especially if his defensive game becomes a liability and he’s not producing at the other end.

    • avscup - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Elliot’s deal is he is smallish and not tough. He is easily knocked of the puck and isn’t going to overpower anyone in front of the net. While he would provide offensive numbers better than Hejda, he is nowhere near the veteran or quality 2nd pairing that Hejda is. I don’t see Elliot replacing Guenon and certainly not Holden.

      Ryan Wilson was injured and never gained the favor or trust of Roy. He should have a good camp and earn his spot back or he will be traded.

      • hockey412 - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        All he needs is a summer with Gary Roberts – he’s no shorter than Ryan Suter.

  2. avscup - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    A summer with Gary Roberts isn’t gonna make him Ryan Suter, and it’s not gonna make him a tough D. The Avs have all the smaller puck moving D they need. What they need are Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene type big D that stay home and take care of business in their own end.

    Elliot is no Ryan Suter…never will be.

  3. avscup - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    2013-14 stats at Lake Erie…61 games, 14g, 14a, 14PIM, -16 +/-

    Those are not the numbers from the AHL of anyone that is going to help much in the NHL!

    My eyes have told me the kid is soft!

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