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Eagles Aim for More Growth in AHL Year 2

Colorado's AHL training camp is underway

by Kevin McGlue /

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Colorado Eagles players report for their 2019 American Hockey Leaague training camp on Monday, and this year's team looks to be the beneficiary of some tremendous depth at the NHL level, as well as some key additions during the offseason.

It has been an ongoing process that saw the groundwork being laid last season, the Eagles' first in the AHL.

"I think the coaching staff, the development staff have done a really good job of working with the guys," said Colorado Avalanche assistant general manager Craig Billington. "Identifying their individual needs and having a plan, a detailed plan. They care about the players and the players know that. The players have to do the work, but they have a great support staff."

When examining what the organization has to offer during the 2019-20 campaign, Billington and the rest of the front office have been pleased with what they've seen at the Avs' training camp.

"You probably have 31 teams that are excited about what they have on their whiteboard right now, but we certainly are," said Billington. "You spend a lot of the offseason building that out with the needs and the direction of the organization in mind and (Avalanche general manager) Joe Sakic, (Avalanche assistant general manager) Chris MacFarland and myself attack it and work at filling those spots with those items in mind.

"We feel that there is a good depth to the organization, we think we have some good players to play a system that Jared (Bednar) and Greg (Cronin) want them to play in and ultimately what Joe wants to see throughout the whole organization."

In addition to the organization's depth helping to round out the Eagles roster, Billington and company have also taken a close look at those areas where they would like to see the Eagles improve. That process includes taking a look at how the team takes on a weekend-heavy schedule in the first two months of the season.

"Power play for us was an area that we wanted to get better, we need to be better in that area, and we've made some additions that we think will help," Billington said. "Speaking with how we are going about our week-to-week approach, especially when we've got those 'college weeks' where there's a lot of gap. We've got some ideas that Greg and I talked about with the other staff, working together to build out maybe a little bit of a different look during the week that we think is going to be beneficial and give us some really high-quality games for the weekend and thereon through."

For those players that have been at the Avs' training camp over the past few weeks, there has been an opportunity to make a case to earn a spot on the Avalanche's opening-night roster. It is also a chance to plant the seed for a potential call-up down the road, and the exhibition games will be a time for those players to showcase their abilities.

"It's been a really good camp, you're seeing high pace, you're seeing a lot of compete, you're seeing real good compete for jobs," said Billington. "I'm encouraged and I think as a staff we're encouraged. We spend a lot of time watching guys and working with them and projecting out where they might end up. Certainly, the exhibition games will tell the tale, too."

VIEW: Eagles 2019 Training Camp Schedule & Roster

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