Chris Bigras knows what's in store for him after his junior playing days are over. Having already signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche at last year's training camp, Bigras has a future in professional hockey once he finishes his time with the Owen Sound Attack.
The knowledge of having a little stability for his future is something Bigras (bee-GRAH) appreciates, but he said he's not going to take it easy until his professional time comes. Instead, he is going to keep working hard and won't be satisfied until he makes it in the NHL.
“I think it's been a build up of confidence, knowing that it's just right there, the dream that you’ve always dreamed of," Bigras said prior to the season. "It's just giving it that extra push, and continuing to work hard and stick to what has gotten you this far to have a good opportunity of making the [NHL] club."
He was paired on defense with 31-year-old Nate Guenin for much of this year's Avalanche training camp, and just like a year ago when he was a pleasant surprise in camp, he once again gained attention from veteran players for his strong play on the back end.
"He's going to be a very good player. He's solid right now," Guenin said in the early days of Avs camp. "I think we have worked well communicating, keeping it simple. He's an easy guy to play with."
Bigras, 19, was also more comfortable on and off the ice in his second NHL training camp after participating in his first the previous year, nearly three months after being selected No. 32 overall by Colorado in the 2013 draft.
“It builds a little bit more confidence coming in here and knowing what to expect and how things are run, the Avalanche way," Bigras said. "You're used to the preparation going into camp, and you have confidence on the ice because you have done it before and you can play at that level.”
Before going to the pro ranks, Bigras has some unfinished business with Owen Sound. The Attack looks to make a return trip to the Ontario Hockey League playoffs this season, and to go further than last year when the team lost in the first round to Sault Ste. Marie.
First 34 games in 2014-15
Goals: 12 | Assists: 29 | Pts: 41
PIM: 36 | +/-: 3
The Orillia, Ontario native began this season as the oldest member on the Attack's defense and was in line for a bounce-back campaign after posting 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 55 games in 2013-14, a bit of a dip from the previous year when he tallied 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists) in 68 contests.
So far he's bounced back in a big way.
Bigras leads all OHL defensemen in scoring 41 points (12 goals and 29 assists) in 34 games, and he was recently named the league's Defenseman of the Month for December after registering four goals and nine assists in six games.
A version of this story appeared in the 2014-15 second edition of AVALANCHE, the official game magazine of the Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club. Stay tuned to ColoradoAvalanche.com throughout the season for more magazine feature stories or check out the latest stories by purchasing a copy of the magazine during Avs home games at Pepsi Center. All proceeds from game-magazine sales support youth hockey associations in Colorado.