Why Ryan Graves could be an undiscovered gem for the Avalanche

Brace Hemmelgarn, USA Today

He came to the Avalanche with the rap as something of an "AHL guy", a player with lots of pro hockey experience - just none of it at the NHL level. That's all changed now for Ryan Graves. No one can ever take it away from him, the fact that he made it to The Show. He's got three games of NHL experience, and there will be a fourth on Wednesday night when the Avs entertain the San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center.

The Avs are in a 2-6-2 slide, and Graves has yet to experience what an NHL win feels like. But he still can't wipe the smile off his face. Graves, a person who looks like a cross between former Avs goalie David Aebischer and actor Rob Lowe, can't help it. He took the scenic route to the NHL - five years of junior in the Quebec Major League and four at the American League level.

A 2013 fourth-round draft choice of the New York Rangers, Graves had to wait a good while to get his NHL shot, but so far he's pretty much made the most of it. That also helps explain the perma-grin he seems to be wearing right now.

"You dream of playing in the NHL as a kid, so from that aspect it's been awesome," Graves told BSN Denver. "I've just been trying to take it in and enjoy it. I've just tried to put my best foot forward and play as best I can."

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