After leading the Northern Michigan University Wildcats in scoring for three consecutive seasons from 2007-08 to 2009-10, forward Mark Olver
made his professional debut during the 2010-11 season.
Selected by Colorado in the fifth round (140th overall) at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he became the first player from the Avalanche’s 2008 draft class to appear in an NHL game when he suited up on Opening Night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Olver would finish the campaign with nine points (2g/7a) and 18 penalty minutes in 18 NHL games, which included five points (1g/4a) in his final eight contests.
The following is a look back at the center’s first NHL season.NHL Debut
Olver was one of the pleasant surprises of Colorado’s training camp. The forward played well enough to earn a spot on the Avalanche’s Opening Night roster and would go on to make his NHL debut during the team’s season opener.
Olver played three shifts and totaled 1:42 of ice time on Oct. 7 as the Avalanche defeated Chicago by a 4-3 score in overtime.First Point
After making his debut, Olver was a healthy scratch on Oct. 11 in Philadelphia but was reinserted into the lineup for Colorado’s third game of the season, an Oct. 12 contest against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The forward earned 4:05 of ice time and picked up his first NHL point when he assisted on a David Jones
goal during the first period of a 5-4 shootout victory by the Avalanche.Another Assist
The Burnaby, B.C. native registered up his second career assist/point two games later when he drew the only helper on a T.J. Galiardi tally on Oct. 16 against the New York Islanders.
Olver would serve as a healthy scratch on Oct. 18 at the New York Rangers before being reassigned to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League on Oct. 19.Finding AHL Success
Following his reassignment, Olver would spend most of the next five months in Cleveland playing for the Monsters (save for a brief call-up from Feb. 15-Feb. 22 when he played in two games for the Avalanche).
The center found considerable success with Lake Erie, as he earned a roster spot at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic. Upon his recall by Colorado on March 12, he was leading the Monsters with 23 goals and was second on the team with 40 points.First Goal
Just five days and three games after being recalled by the Avalanche for the final time of the season, Olver netted his first career NHL goal during Colorado’s 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on March 17.
With the Avalanche down two goals, the rookie received a nice pass from linemate Matt Duchene
and moved the puck to his backhand to gain a better angle before burying a shot past Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Multiple Points
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound forward recorded the first multi-point game of his NHL career on March 22 in a 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Pepsi Center.
Olver picked up assists on a pair of Matt Duchene
goals 6:52 apart in the second period to mark the fourth and fifth helpers of his rookie campaign. He also recorded two shots on goal while logging 17:32 of ice time in the victory. Point Streak
The rookie put together a three-game point streak (the longest of his NHL career to date) toward the end of his first NHL campaign. Olver tallied an assist on April 3 vs. Calgary, gained another helper on April 5 at St. Louis and then recorded his second career goal on April 7 at Dallas.
His tally against the Stars came off a nice redirection of a Ryan Wilson
pass during a 4-2 Avalanche loss.Finishing In Lake Erie
After the conclusion of the Avalanche’s season, Olver was reassigned to Lake Erie to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
After finishing fourth on the Monsters with 40 points (23g/17a) in 58 regular season games, he tied for second on the team in playoff scoring with four points (2g/2a) as Lake Erie was eliminated by the Manitoba Moose in seven games during the opening round of the postseason.