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Monsters broadcaster Ben Holden recently spent a few days in Denver at Colorado Avalanche training camp where he was able to catch up and talk with many players and coaches who have ties to the Lake Erie Monsters organization. Continuing on his series of interviews from Avalanche training camp, we now have three more Avalanche players who developed their careers on and off the ice here in Cleveland with the Monsters.
Last season defenseman Ryan Wilson played in just three games with the Monsters - the first three of the season - before his call up to the NHL with the Avalanche. In those three games Wilson racked up 17 penalty minutes. After his call up in mid October, Wilson spent the remainder of the season in an Avalanche uniform. The Windsor, Ontario, native played in 61 games, scoring three goals and racking up 18 assists for 21 points as a regular on the Colorado blue line all season.
There is rugged forward Cody McLeod - a gritty, tough and grinding forward who played a big part in helping the Avalanche return to the playoffs last season with 18 points (7G, 11A) in 74 games. McLeod also racked up 138 penalty minutes for the Avs. During the 2007-08 season, the Monsters first in the AHL, McLeod played in 27 games, scoring six goals and setting up seven others for 13 points, while accumulating 138 penalty minutes before he was called up the Avs. He's part of a very big, talented, young core of players that have developed their careers in Monsters uniforms.
Talented forward Brandon Yip started last season in Cleveland with the Monsters, however, he didn't play in a game until December. Yip injured his hand in a preseason exhibition game vs. St. Louis and had to endure a long and tough rehab stint here in Lake Erie before he got to play again. But in his first game in December against the Grand Rapids Griffins, Yip made his presence known when scored a highlight reel goal. He would play in a total of six games with the Monsters before he was called up to the Avalanche the week before Christmas. In his six games with the Monsters, Yip scored two goals and had four penalty minutes. With the Avalanche, he played in 32 games and scored 11 goals and set up eight others for 19 points. Yip also recorded 22 penalty minutes and played significant minutes in the Avs first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
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