August 32-in-32: Colorado Avalanche

Hayden Soboleski

2021-08-07

200926 HV71:s Oskar Olausson under uppvärmningen inför ishockeymatchen i SHL mellan HV71 och Rögle den 26 september 2020 i Jönköping.
Foto: Mathias Bergeld / BILDBYRÅN / COP 200 / MB0024

 

 

The 32-in-32 Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in August we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up, the September 32-in-32 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs until the season begins!

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When your lineup is as strong as Colorado’s, any outcome other than a deep playoff run is a disappointment. They could not get past the Vegas Golden Knights, meaning they got knocked out of the playoffs sooner than they should have thanks to the temporary division alignment. They will not be returning with the status quo – they lost notable pieces to expansion and free agency, as well they will not be satisfied if they do not make a deeper run this year. With multiple forwards in the final years of their deals and top prospect Alex Newhook ready to make his full-time debut, 2021-22 could be an exciting ride for Avs fans. Before we jump into roster moves, let us check out the newest prospects added to the cupboard:

 

Draft Recap

 

Round 1, 28th overall: Oskar Olausson, LW

The Avs took a speedy, hard-working winger with their first round pick, nearly exactly where the DobberProspects team had him ranked entering the draft. Olausson fits a “safe” middle-six archetype – can get the puck down the ice, a good toolbox all around, but lacks the talent to be a top offensive threat. He has some seasoning to do to use his teammates better, we can expect him in North America in a few years.

 

Round 2, 61st overall: Sean Behrens, LD

Colorado has a good track record drafting defensemen so Behrens is already worth keeping an eye on. This is much higher than the DobberProspects team ranked him pre-draft, mainly due to his boom-or-bust potential. The small-ish high-skill rearguard has vision and a motor, but isn’t yet reliable enough in his own end to be a top prospect. He is entering the NCAA (University of Denver of course) and expect him to stew there for at least three seasons.

 

Round 3, 92nd overall: Andrei Buyalsky, C

Buyalsky fits Colorado’s yearly quota for tall centermen getting drafted earlier than expected, but to be fair, his development path has been less than predictable thanks to growing up in Kazakhstan. I won’t pretend that I watched any games of Kazakhstani pro, but upon transitioning to the USHL he was immediately productive. He was older and bigger than most of his peers, but success is success and if he can transition equally well to the NCAA this year, he will be easily worthy of his 3rd-round status. Expect multiple years at the University of Vermont. 

 

Round 7, 220th overall: Taylor Makar, C

Yep, the Avs used their final pick on Cale’s little brother. Would he have been drafted with a different last name? Questionable, but sometimes it is worth it to keep your stars happy. He is 6-3 and was over a point-per-game in the AJHL which are both fine qualities. He is heading to UMass of the NCAA where we can keep tabs on him going forward.

 

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Offseason Moves

 

Incoming:

Darcy Kuemper, G

Ryan Murray, LD

Darren Helm, F

Kurtis MacDermid, LD/RD

Mikhail Maltsev, LW

Stefan Mattau, LW

Dylan Sikura, F (AHL)

Andreas Wingerli, C (AHL)

Jordan Gross, RD (AHL)

Roland McKeown, RD (AHL)

 

Turning Pro:

Alex Beaucage, RW

Justin Barron, RD

Nate Clurman, RD

Trent Miner, G

Benjamin Tardif, LW

 

Outgoing:

Philip Grubauer, G

Brandon Saad, LW/RW

Joonas Donskoi, RW

P-E Bellemare, F

Matt Calvert, LW/RW

Ryan Graves, LD

Conor Timmins, RD

Devan Dubnyk, G

Adam Werner, G (AHL)

Dan Renouf, LD (AHL)

TJ Tynan, F (AHL)

Liam O’Brien, F (AHL)

Kyle Burroughs, RD (AHL)

Sheldon Dries, F (AHL)

 

The Avalanche underwent a fair amount of turnover in both the NHL and AHL which will lead to lots of players in new roles. On the NHL side, Saad and Donskoi leave gaping holes in the middle-six, which may go to veterans like Nichuskin, Jost, or Compher, but look out for Alex Newhook to get a chance on the second line. Bottom-six roles also saw turnover and while Helm, Maltsev, and Sherwood have NHL experience, this will be an opportunity for Martin Kaut or Shane Bowers to grab a spot with a strong camp. On the back end, at least one lefty is going to have to switch sides for Byram to slot in the lineup (which he absolutely will), so let us see how the pairings shake out. If Johnson hits the IR yet again, Gross is not a strong enough 7th defenseman to be immune to being leapfrogged by an AHL prospect if someone is performing well on the Eagles so there is a potential opportunity lurking. In the crease, Jonas Johansson seems to have held down the backup role, pending Francouz’s return from injury. He played fine when needed after his trade from Buffalo, but don’t bet on a contender standing pat with those two as the only insurance behind newcomer Kuemper. 

 

In AHL development, the Eagles lost a handful of point-producing veterans which means big ice time and top power play time will be available for prospects like Kaut, Bowers, Alex Beaucage, Sampo Ranta, and JL Foudy. Keep an eye on who is given more minutes and who can hold onto them. Despite some new names, there is still space on the AHL blue line for Justin Barron to thrive if he lives up to his audition period last spring. In the crease, I was surprised to see Werner move on given the upside he showed (in between cold streaks), but the organization was clearly more comfortable with this with Trent Miner coming in full time after a nice audition last season during WHL hiatus.

 

 

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Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for next month’s 32-in-32 series, where we will dive into each team’s prospect depth chart. You can check me out on Twitter and see the latest updates on all fantasy-relevant Avalanche prospects at the links below:

https://dobberprospects.com/team/colorado-avalanche

@soboleskih

 

 

 

 

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