Nicolas Meloche was Colorado's third selection (second round, 40th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
A native of LaSalle, Quebec, Meloche had 16 goals and 31 assists this past season, splitting time between the Gatineau Olympiques and the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The defenseman followed his regular season performance with another seven points (three goals, four assists) in 13 contests as the Islanders marched their way to a QMJHL semi-finals appearance. Meloche signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avs back in March.
He recently talked with ColoradoAvalanche.com about development camp and getting ready for the upcoming season.
What did it mean to you to sign your entry-level contract?
"Dream come true. I never thought one day I'd sign my first NHL contract or a contract at all. It was great for me and my family. We were a bit nervous at the end of this year, [wondering] if I would sign or not, but that day came and it was pretty great."
How did you feel about your mid-season trade to Charlottetown?
"We had a good team in Gatineau, but we didn't play as well as we should have. Getting the opportunity to be traded to the Maritimes with a great team and coaching staff for me was a good opportunity. It was really fun to be there, and I had a great season there."
Tell us a little about the QMJHL and how it has progressed your game?
"For me, those past four years were unbelievable. I met so many great people, and I had three great billets in three different cities. I came in the league as a kid, and I came out as a man. It was so great for me and my development. To start at 16 years old, it helped me a lot to become more of a pro. It was a great four years."
What are your goals and expectations coming out of camp and heading into this season?
"I want to get better, bigger and faster like everyone has said probably. I'd like to get a spot on the roster in the NHL or go back in the AHL to develop and maybe have a couple of NHL games this year. It's expecting to play 82 games, that's for sure. For me, it's about getting better every day and in the future, being a good defenseman for the Avs."
What knowledge have you gained from a coach like Adam Foote?
"He knows everything. Every small detail, he corrects you and helps you to be better. It's nice to have a great player like him. You learn so much. Adam is so nice to us, especially to the 'D,' like me who plays a little like him. It's nice to have him around."
What is your favorite hockey memory so far?
"That's a tough one. I'd say going to the final in my first year, at 16 years old. Beating my hometown team, Blainville, in the semis and going to the finals my first year was a pretty great experience. Winning the U18 Ivan Hlinka tournament with Team Canada was pretty great too."
How old were you when you first started skating?
"Oh, I think I was four, but I didn't want to skate. I just wanted to play. I wanted a stick in my hand, but I think I was four."
"Ha, doesn't matter. Whatever my billet is doing, but usually pasta and a little bit of chicken."
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
"Nice, caring, and a funny guy."
If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or to the future?
"I'd say the future. I want to see if the cars are flying and stuff like that. It would be great to drive one."
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
"I'd find a way to sleep! I love sleeping. Oh wait! Maybe eat! Ah, food is so good. Sometimes my brother eats more than I do, but he doesn't get any bigger. Yeah, I'll go with eating."
What is your favorite part of Colorado so far?
"I love the hockey part, but I'd say the views. I'm not a hiking guy, but we've gone twice since working out here and the views are just unbelievable. It's nice to be around here. This city is pretty amazing."