December 31-in-31: Colorado Avalanche

Hayden Soboleski

2020-12-07

The 31-in-31 Offseason Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in December we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s prospect depth chart, riser & fallers, and top prospect ranking. 

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With such a deep lineup on a team expected to make a long playoff run, prospects can’t just take up a roster spot for the sake of development – they have to contribute on the ice to a winning squad. Luckily, the Avalanche are making a good habit of being patient with their prospects. Cale Makar could have eased into the NHL a year earlier, but instead, he played an extra year of college and stepped into the lineup fully locked and loaded. Mikko Rantanen was NHL-ready when he was playing in the AHL, but that year of patient adjustment to the pro-level prepared him to score 20 as a rookie. Meanwhile, doing the opposite and rushing Tyson Jost only led to more AHL bouncing and an uncertain place in the lineup going forward, so don’t expect the Avs to make that mistake again. As such, I would expect patience on all prospects below, regardless of their upside. 

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GRADUATING TO NHL 

  • Logan O’Connor played on the fourth-line and penalty-kill during the playoffs and passed the eye test. He signed a contract extension and looks to have the 13th forward spot penciled in. He’s not a bad option for streaming hits, but he won’t be playing a huge role on the club. 

ON THE CUSP 

  • Martin Kaut is ready for an NHL third-line role, but he will need a great camp to secure it on such a deep Avs roster. He may be best suited to stay in Europe (on loan) for 2020-21, which is what the team opted for during their Covid postseason run.

  • Conor Timmins was given cups of coffee last season and looked close…then got hurt again. He needs to stay healthy and could be a regular by 2021 if he does.

  • Bowen Byram has nothing left to prove in the WHL. He’s ready for his NHL introduction, but there’s only so much ice-time to go around. He’s a good bet to be a graduate, rather than “on the cusp”, but it’s no guarantee. 

GRADUATING FROM JR/NCAA TO PRO 

  • Alex Newhook is a good candidate to turn pro later in the season after his sophomore NCAA year concludes (i.e the Makar timeline), but we will have to see how the league schedule works out. Colorado chose not to burn a year of Kaut’s ELC and they may do the same here. 

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RISERS 

  • Alex Beaucage is one of the best goal-scorers in the QMJHL once again and has us patiently waiting for a pro debut next year.

  • Justin Barron was drafted higher than expected and then got some attention during Team Canadas’ WJC training camp, which always boosts th