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Numbers Game: First-Year Pros

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Four Avalanche prospects, each of whom recently wrapped up their NCAA eligibility, will be attending their first professional camps (NCAA players are not permitted to take part in rookie camp or training camp while attending school).

While all four of the players listed below have attended development camps in Colorado at some point, the first day of rookie camp will essentially mark the beginning of their professional careers.

“Last Worn By” denotes the last Avalanche/Nordiques player to wear the number during an NHL contest.

#29 – Ryan Stoa
At camp, Stoa will be wearing the same No. 29 he wore in college. A native of Bloomington, Minn., Stoa spent four years at the University of Minnesota (which included a redshirt season in 2007-08) and finished his collegiate career with 97 points (47g/50a) in 120 games for the Gophers. The big power forward signed an entry-level deal with the Avalanche on March 27.
Last Worn By: Daniel Tjarnqvist (2008-09)

#43 – Justin Mercier
Mercier is coming off a solid four-year career at Miami (Ohio) University, where he helped lead the RedHawks to the NCAA title game in 2009. A solid two-way player, Mercier (who sported No. 16 in college) will attend his first professional camp while wearing No. 43.
Last Worn By: T.J. Galiardi (2009)

#59 – Brandon Yip
Yip’s last collegiate game was likely his most memorable, as his Boston University Terriers won a thrilling match-up with Mercier’s RedHawks to capture the 2009 NCAA championship. Now embarking upon his professional career, Yip (No. 18 at BU), will wear No. 59 at camp.
Last Worn By: Philippe Dupuis (2008-09)

#64 – Billy Sauer
Sauer wore No. 36 at the University of Michigan, saying, “I think it’s an original goalie number that not too many people see.” That being said, it’s almost fitting that the netminder will be wearing No. 64 at camp. No player in franchise history has dressed as No. 64 in an NHL game.
Last Worn By: Nobody

Ryan Wilson and Cedric McNicoll are two other players who were not with the Avalanche organization during camp last September, but will be at Family Sports Center for this year’s version of the event.

#44 – Ryan Wilson
Wilson was acquired from Calgary at the 2009 trade deadline in the deal that sent Jordan Leopold to the Flames. The defenseman appeared in eight games for the Lake Erie Monsters following his acquisition, notching two assists. At camp, Wilson will wear Leopold’s old number.
Last Worn By: Jordan Leopold (2006-09)

#49 Cedric McNicoll
McNicoll, one of the top scorers in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, was signed to an entry-level deal in March. He will enter his first rookie camp with the Avalanche wearing No. 49 (he previously wore No. 71 at development camp in July)
Last Worn By: Serge Aubin (1999-2000)

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