The new season is right around the corner and ColoradoAvalanche.com will be profiling several Avs prospects as they prepare for the 2015-16 campaign.
Next up is Chris Bigras, who took the time to sit down and chat during the Avalanche's development camp in July. Selected in the second round (32nd overall) by Colorado in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Bigras is looking to show how much he's improved over the years during Avs training camp.
Q: You’ve seen a pretty big increase in points with Owen Sound, specifically over the last two years. What’s been the key in that success? Is there anything specific that you’ve been doing?
A: I think it’s just development. Everyone gets better as they get older, and they learn more things as they get older, and the experience is helping for sure.
Q: So as you age, you see the ice better? You see the play better? You start to recognize the competition differently?
A: Yeah. I think I was focusing more on my defensive side of the game, and I think I found a good balance last year. I’m better at picking my spots to jump in and contribute offensively.
Q: Speaking of jumping in, what was it like for you making the switch from OHL game to the AHL game?
A: It was a bit of an adjustment, but I am usually a pretty quick learner and I found myself getting pretty comfortable by the end of the seven games there. I felt good out there on the ice.
Q: Are there things that you were able to identify, on both sides of the puck, that you need work on, or things that you liked and didn’t like about your seven-game stretch?
A: It was a huge learning experience, which was good. I picked up a lot of things, but mostly I just need to get stronger. I mean the guys are bigger at the next level and you can’t do as much reaching. You have to use your body and use your feet to get good positioning on guys. I think getting stronger and continuing working on stick position and body position is key.
Q: What was playing in the super series like for you?
A: It was good. I’ve done it for a couple years. This year I was with one of my long time friends, Zach Nastasiuk, who I have been playing with for nine years. It was a good experience to do that once again and play against some of the top-end players of our age group.
Q: Tell me a little bit about development camp. Obviously we talked to you guys then, but how has that helped over the summer and coming into camp, now that you are kind of removed from it?
A: Well it was a good, hard-working camp. We did a lot of training and all that, so that was good just for the competitiveness and the intensity. You learn a lot. You learn a lot at those things about just what the next level is going to be like. So just the preparation for camp, it was huge.
Q: Away from the hockey side of things, what have you done this summer to have fun and stay fresh and not just work out and skate and all that?
A: Other than those things, I live by the beach so I was at the beach quite a bit. And I enjoy a good game of golf. So I got out on the course a couple of times.
Q: Are you pretty good?
A: I’m okay. Average, I would say.
Q: What do you do in the water? Do you do anything fun like paddle boarding or anything like that?
A: I’ve got a couple kayaks, paddle boards, and then just bocce ball, beach volleyball, whatever. Whatever we can find, we do that.
Q: What are your goals for training camp and expectations for the coming season?
A: My expectation for myself is to make the team. I want to try to make the team and that’s my goal. If I fall short of that, then it is not something I will beat myself up over. I will just take that as a learning experience, and take the coaching staff’s advice from what they say that I need to improve on to get to that level and go from there.
Q: Are there specific things that you feel you need to do to make the team, or make a lasting impression?
A: I am just going to try to play my game, the one that’s gotten me here. Just a smart, more simple game. Be strong defensively, and jump in when I can. Hopefully they like what they see.
Q: Do you still have nerves about coming to camp or, now that you’ve been through a few, do you just know what to expect?
A: There are a little bit of nerves—always—but I am definitely more confident and comfortable this year having had a couple years to develop.