Thursday provided a mixture of the good and the bad for Colorado Avalanche prospect Mike Sgarbossa. He was cut from his first NHL team, after being reassigned to the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL. On a lighter note, he was also named to the AHL All-Star game.
His 28 points rank him seventh in AHL rookie scoring; a ranking that surely would have been higher had he not been called up to the Avs for camp. Undrafted out of juniors, Sgarbossa exploded last season to lead the OHL in scoring. Many thought he may not be able to replicate that success as a first-year pro, but as shown by this selection, Sgarbossa has a penchant for proving his doubters wrong.
The game will take place in Providence, R.I. on Jan. 28. Joining Sgarbossa on the Western Conference roster will be teammate Andrew Agozzino. Also never drafted, the undersized Agozzino was signed this season by the Monsters following a junior season that saw him be named OHL captain of the year and finish fifth in scoring. He also had a three-game AHL stint with the Peoria Rivermen last spring. Agozzino currently sits fourth in rookie scoring.
The Colorado connections do not end there.
Jason Zucker, Drew Shore, Matt Donovan and Beau Bennett played their college hockey at the University of Denver. Zucker was the captain of Team USA at the 2011 World Junior Championships. Shore’s younger brothers Quintin and Nick still play for the Pioneers.
Many Avs fans will recognize the last name of forward Chris Bourque, as his father Ray famously raised the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avs (a younger Chris and brother Ryan could be seen crying in the background).
The memories of the final player with Colorado connections may not be as pleasant as the rest. Brayden McNabb delivered the hit that knocked Avalanche prospect Joey Hishon out of the 2011 Memorial Cup Playoffs. Although he has recently begun skating, Hishon has not played since.
While the game is being played on the other side of the country, the Mile High presence is sure to be felt.