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Colorado Avalanche Development Camp Notebook | Day 2

Meghan Angley Avatar
July 5, 2023

The Colorado Avalanche wrapped up day two of their 2023 development camp on Tuesday. Following a schedule similar to Monday, players got on the ice for three sessions (including a separate goalie session). The day was split into two groups and culminated in a final session with the entire camp.

Today, Jared Bednar joined the main group to provide valuable instruction.

The drills started to resemble game play a bit more. Colby Ambrosio impressed in a puck protection drill. He used his speed, agility, and just a bit of deception to evade the coach.

A series of drills tested behind the net play including puck retrievals. Centerman Ondrej Pavel was effective behind the net and demonstrated an instinct to quickly settle the puck after it was rimmed around the boards.

Pavel is one of the college free-agent adds from last season. The 22-year old just completed his junior year at Minnesota State.

In the later parts of the morning, Pavel also looked good in the five-on-five bursts due to his high motor. He took the extra strides to try and win races. Finishing his checks and playing the body came naturally.

He comfortably wore contact in the dangerous areas and was unafraid to drive inside ice and play behind the net. For Pavel, moving all 6’2”, 204 lbs., can be a challenge at times. Sometimes his mobility is hindered and he’s more likely to win the battle than the race. Still, Pavel has valuable tools including his ability to disrupt play and a powerful release even down low.

Group 2 included many of the defensemen. At first, Mikhail Gulyayev struggled to settle the puck on his right side in the drill which sent the puck along the boards. He’d make the initial touch and lose it. It genuinely seemed like a drill that felt unnatural to him, perhaps too stripped down from game play.

He switched his stick and had a much better time of things.

Where he really shined was in the straight-line skating drill. With the puck on his stick, Gulyayev’s strides were powerful, quick, explosive, and effortless.

He blew his peers out of the water on that one.

Another defenseman who stood out was, again, Jeremy Hanzel. Hanzel had the polish of a player with pro experience especially with his behind the net play. He settled pucks quickly and seamlessly maneuvered them on net.

Though his first few strides are unassuming, he quickly picked up speed before you realized just how fast he was going.

To round out the day, players were put into pairings and line rush combinations.

The forwards looked something like this:

Taylor Makar
Yoan Loshing
Julius Sumpf
Briley Wood
Hunter Anderson
Colby Ambrosio
Ondrej Pavel
Milo Roelens
Owen Allard
Matthew Miller
Matt Stienburg
Jason Polin
Ryan Sandelin
Joshua Eernisse
Simon Lafrance

Notable d-pairings that stayed intact were Gianni Fairbrother and Sam Malinski and Marc Lajoie and Mikhail Gulyayev.

Ambrosio’s line was far and above the standout. Ambrosio in particular used his speed and dogged commitment to recover possession.

Makar was not easily worked off the puck and used his physicality to win battles with ease. At times he struggled to settle the puck and his next move was predictable. His sheer size and power made it hard for opponents to capitalize on this, but he could use a little more deception to take things up a notch.

Malinski also looked good in this setting. You can see just how complete his game is when it demands a little bit of everything. At one instance, he didn’t receive the initial pass but in his recovery he scanned the ice and found the perfect stretch pass which granted his forward a clean entry.

The players looked more comfortable overall. Between adjusting to new equipment and the altitude, tomorrow’s session and scrimmage are sure to pull some of this together even more meaningfully.

From inside the locker room:

Colby Ambrosio on coming to development camp: “It’s great because I can’t go to rookie camp because (of) the NCAA rules. I’m glad that I get to show my skills so that I might come here.”

Ambrosio on his growth as a player: “I’ve rounded out my game pretty well. I’m more reliable now in the defensive zone – not just the guy that you can rely on in the offensive.”

Ambrosio on center/wing versatility: “My whole life I basically played center. I got moved to the wing in college, but I’m most comfortable at center. Obviously I don’t mind playing wing at all. I just feel I can take on more speed as a centerman which is kind of what I’m known for.”

Ambrosio on playing with Alex Newhook and Jack McBain: “I played with Newy my freshman year, so I got to see him for that whole year, and then I was with McBain for three years. The work ethic that they bring to the table each and every day, it’s something that rubs off on all of us – especially me. It really proves that nothing good comes without hard work.”

Ambrosio on what lies ahead & what he hopes to bring: “I can bring a lot to the table: speed and a lot of offense. But at the end of the day, nobody’s gonna want someone who just provides offense. You can’t be out there in the d-zone and not reliable. I got to round out my game.”

“The Avs took a chance on me in 2020 at the draft. This is the place I want to play. Just being here at development camp, I’m living out my dream and that’s a great feeling. I definitely want to be here.”

Jeremy Hanzel on getting drafted to the Avs: “I was just at home just chilling out, not really doing anything special, and I saw my name come up on the screen. It was a pretty surreal moment for me. I’ve been through the draft twice and didn’t hear my name called the previous year, but I finally got called in the third year, so it was an awesome moment for me.”

Hanzel on his growth in the WHL: “I’ve really stepped up in the defensive end of my game (especially having come) into the WHL as more of an offensive player with not too much of a defensive presence. But over the past couple years, I’ve really been working on that and getting bigger, getting more confident, just really working on being a solid presence in the d-zone – really shutting down whoever I need to. That’s really brought me to the next step.”

“Playing a few seasons there, it’s just what you have to do. You have to get better, you have to get stronger, you have to get faster every level you move up. That’s my plan for the offseason: get even bigger, even faster, even stronger.”

Hanzel on his future plan: “I’m doing everything I can to try to make pro this year, but if not, I’ll be heading back to major junior in Seattle.”

Hanzel on what he’s seen from the way the Avs like to play: “The past few years I’ve been watching Devon Toews play, and I think I kind of modeled my game off of him. He’s obviously fit in really well with the Avs here, and he’s a big part of their d-corps. If I can play like he does, I could fit in well.”


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