Welcome to our annual 31-in-31 Summer Series here at DobberProspects! Every day in July we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, notes from their development camp, and insights into their off-season moves so far. Following this up, the August 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check in often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all summer long!
The Avalanche set themselves up extremely well for the 2019 NHL Draft thanks to the not-yet-forgotten Matt Duchene trade that landed them the 4th-overall pick. They held 5 picks in the first three rounds of the draft, meaning that Colorado has re-stocked their cupboard and there is a wealth of new blood for fantasy owners to dig into.
In Byram, The Avalanche picked the consensus best d-man in the draft, who on thinner squads would become an immediate 3rd-pairing option this fall. He played huge minutes in the WHL, has the size to play against men, and produced at a point-per-game rate in both the regular season and postseason (where he led the bracket in points). He is a strong enough skater to move the puck out or create chances on his own rather than defer to passing, but he reads and anticipates plays well enough that he puts up nice assists as well. His totals are a result of a diverse toolbox. His physical game isn’t his forte, but it’s also not necessarily a weakness. Colorado fans should be ecstatic about this pick, as he projects to be a top-pairing d-man, and a top-four in the very near future. Given the current blueline depth however, he is not a lock to see more than an audition this fall.
With their own pick in the first round, the Avs wasted no time selecting Newhook, an offensive dynamo out of the BCHL. His 102 points in 53 games are impressive, but the lower-tier competition compared to other draftees gave some scouts a pause. Avalanche fans in particular may already be hearing alarm bells ringing “Tyson Jost Tyson Jost”, and rightfully so. However, his talent is undeniable and his upside is enormous, and he has proven in the U18 tournament that he remains a 200-foot force even against tougher opponents. He has committed to Boston College for 2019-20, and we will get to see for ourselves how the smooth-skating pivot fares with less ice time and against more challenging squads. He has the potential to be a one-and-done college player, but after Jost’s slower-than-hoped development, management may decide to play it safe, so don’t bank on him playing in Burgundy too soon.
Another Boston College commit, Helleson is a tower on the back end. On paper he is a defense-first blueliner but he was relatively buried on a strong USDP which means there could very well be more upside than we know. He can read plays well and use his size and stick to close off attackers, although he’s not necessarily a big hitter. Being extremely deep on young defenseman means that the organization has no need to rush Helleson at all, meaning he is a strong candidate to play at least a couple of years in the NCAA before turning pro. Wait and see what kind of fantasy upside he shows us in college before drafting.
Round 3, 63rd overall: Matthew Stienburg, C
Rated as a potential 4th-5th round target, Colorado selecting Stienburg in the 3rd round raised some eyebrows. He scored regularly at the high school level in 2018-19, and has committed to Cornell for 2019-20 where we ca