30 in 30 Colorado Avalanche

Hayden Soboleski

2016-07-09

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The Colorado Avalanche have been an interesting team to follow over the last few years. Once a team with a promising young core who appeared to take a big step under a new coach, they are now often viewed as underachievers from the ice, to the coaching staff, to upper mangement. Their foundation young players are already on the NHL roster, and with no top-pick-superstars coming anytime soon its up to them to take the next step, and the organization to build an environment to make it happen. Neither are a sure thing to happen, and so the upcoming season or two could signal either a step forward or a step in a new direction for the team. Regardless of the team's woes and who comes and goes, a new generation of Avs were drafted and will play a big part in determining the team's success in years to come. With a new AHL coach in town and a push for a new culture of development, these new additions will be a new wave for the franchise:

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Draft Breakdown

10th overall – Tyson Jost, C

Lowdown:

When nearly every scout compares your top pick to Johnathan Toews, you did well. Jost has a fierce compete level and the playmaking tools to not just mean that in a "he's defensively-responsible" way. A strong shot and excellent passing stemming from his high hockey IQ, Jost can do it all, and has done it all against the best of his peers (while on Team Canada) without a problem. A good bet to make the NHL and be a relied-upon core member.

Playing Future:

NCAA next season, NHL in 2017-18 a real possibility if its what he wants. 

 

40th overall – Cam Morrison, W

Lowdown: 

Another college commit with a strong Team Canada track record, this power forward can score from anywhere on the ice. Has the adaptable shot to shoot from wherever he goes, but luckily likes to find the dirty areas. Plays a heavy game and frees up space on the ice for his linemates. Already has good size; needs skating work but it will come. 

Playing Future: 

NCAA next season, and will turn pro whenever he can be convinced to after that. Likely some AHL time to fine tune his physical game against men.

 

71st overall – Josh Anderson, D

Lowdown:

 A shutdown defenceman. Very solid in his own end, eliminating opposing chances via good play-reading and positioning but also with physical play. Wont be overly fantasy relevant due to his lack of offense, which will likely decrease even more as he becomes more specialized in a rearguard role. 

Playing Future: 

Another year in the WHL, then likely AHL bound for a number of years. There are always veteran defensive specialst options so he will have to earn his roster spots.

 

131st overall – Adam Werner, G

Lowdown:

6'5" and 205 lbs. A very big man with solid numbers in competitive Swedish leagues. Also only 19 years old, and with rare exceptions, goalies are long-term development projects. Werner is no exception.

Playing Future: 

Is AHL eligible and could earn a split situation there next season, but the Avs are in no hurry and will probably let him develop in Sweden barring a phenomenal breakout.

 

161st overall – Nathan Clurman, D

Lowdown:

A local boy with good defensive instincts and can get the puck out of the zone fast with a good pass. Still raw and its too early to judge his talents too harshly. Taking a risk on an big but agile defender who can clear the zone is an ok move by the organization in my books. 

Playing Future: Another year at military academy (USHL), then NCAA. A long term project.

 

191st overall – Travis Barron, W

Lowdown:

An agressive, hard-to-play-against winger with good hands but not enough of a scoring touch. Has a hard shot and a good one-timer.  Good size at 6'1" but not strong enough yet.

Playing Future: 

Back to the OHL, likely for 2 years. Then will have to work his way through the AHL like everyone else.

 

***

Off season

  • Calvin Pickard was re-signed on a two-year deal. after the team dealt away Reto Berra. He will be the full-time backup to Varlamov, but his very good numbers during callups over the last two seasons indicate he may be capable of stealing stretches of starts along the way. 
  • Patrick Weircoch, an often-forgotten key contributor to Ottawa's incredible playoff push two years ago, was brought in for dirt cheap on a one-year contract. He will be a good depth defenceman at worst, but if the analytics darling picks up where he was in that miracle push, he could easily be a top-4 mainstay. Bad news for incumbents Zadorov, Gelinas, and Bigras when it comes to ice time however.
  • Joe Colbourne signed a very reasonable two-year pact with the club and will solidify their middle-six. Good for the team, bad for prospects hoping to snag such a spot out of training camp.
  • Rocco Grimaldi was acquired via trade, and will either prove that speed can earn a spot in a tough Western confierence, or remain a useful AHL scorer. The AHL Rampage need scoring depth and he is in a good spot to both fill a top role there and be an above-average call-up option when needed in Colorado. 
  • Fedor Tyutin was also signed at a bargain price as a stable influence on the back end. Another move that may be good for the team, but will make young promising talents Zadorov, Bigras, and Gelinas fight for every minute of ice time they receive.
  • Most important to all prospects in the AHL: Eric Veilleux has signed on as the new coach of the San Antonio Rampage. Its a new era there and hopefully a brighter one for young players looking to hone their skills.
  • Nathan MacKinnon signed a big (but rightly earned) contract making him the top paid Av.  This puts a squeeze on the roster very close to the cap with RFAs Barrie and Grigorenko still to sign. Something might have to give…

 

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Development Camp Notes

Development camp took place this week in Denver, and lucky for me some more local fellow Avs writers were there in person, tweeting notes throughout. For excellent camp notes, please check out @BSNAvalanche, @avalanche_fanly, and @MileHighHockey on twitter. A few notable observations:

  • Sergei Boikov impressed all season long in the QMJHL, in international play for Team Russia, and briefly in the AHL after being signed for the last few games. Now, he's looking good in camp, showing off his stellar skating abilities. Between his abilities to carry the puck up the ice and punish opponents in his own end, this kid is on the fast track to earning a big AHL role and an NHL look.
  • AJ Greer doesn't like losing, or getting beat in any way, and this is exactly how the organization wants every player to be, game in and game out. After a stumbling start to the year he came into his element as a power forward and will be another welcome addition to a Rampage needing an identity. 
  • JT Compher came ready to prove something. He wants an NHL spot after signing his pro contract, and I think he might just get it. I was more sure before they signed Colbourne though.

 

***

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of our 30-in-30 series here on DobberProspects. Check back next month for our more detailed looks at each team's farm system, giving you the lowdown on what to expect over the next few years of development. 

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih

 

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