August 32-in-32: Colorado Avalanche

Hayden Soboleski

2023-08-10

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Welcome to the August edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.

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Colorado is only two years removed from a Stanley Cup championship, and their focus is still very much on winning right now. Their cupboard lacks blue-chip prospects and they haven’t drafted high in years, but they have still managed to keep a respectable stable of young talent competing for future mid-lineup roles. With ample high-end talent locked up long-term on the main roster, most prospects project to become complimentary pieces at best, but fantasy and GMs both know that sneaky depth pieces can make all the difference. Training camp projects to be very competitive for bottom-six roles…. Will a higher-upside prospect steal a spot and start paying dividends for patient owners? Or will the spots go to under-the-radar role players who could be available right away as sly pickups? 

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Graduates

AHL to NHL

Ben Meyers, C

Bounced up and down from the AHL last season, but the Avs look desperate for depth down the middle so expect the majority of 2023-24 to be spent on the NHL 4th line.

NCAA to Pro

Sam Malinski, RD

A college free agent signing, Malinski had a fantastic AHL playoffs in his tryout period. Now he will get a chance to hold down a role for a full pro season.

Mathew Stienburg, C

Stienburg appears later in the “Fallers” section – his AHL tryout at the end of 2022-23 wasn’t notable as a bottom-six forward rotating in and out of the lineup. Staying in the lineup full-time in 2023-24 will be the primary goal for the rookie pro.

Europe to Pro

Ondrej Pavel, C

Pavel was also brought in at the end of the 2022-23 campaign and looked like a worthy bottom-six pivot, appearing to be trusted more than the aforementioned Stienburg. His limited scoring upside means he is unlikely to be fantasy worthy, but he may turn out to be good organizational depth.

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Risers

Nikolai Kovalenko, RW

Likely reaching the end of his “dark horse” status soon, poolies have been hyping up Kovalenko all summer since he finally announced that he plans to join Colorado after the 2023-24 KHL campaign. Likely to jump straight to the NHL roster and be relevant in multi-category leagues for 2024.

Justus Annunen, G

Possible goalie-of-the-future for Colorado had a strong AHL campaign and the NHL backup’s contract expires after this season. Plus, Colorado has been pushing the limits of using cheap goalies to spend more elsewhere on the roster. The stars are aligning, 2023-24 could be his last year in the AHL if everything goes according to plan.

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Fallers

Alex Beaucage, RW

The former QMJHL sniper showed only moderate improvement as an AHL sophomore and ended the 2022-23 season early with an injury. There’s no rush on this scorer with ‘boom’ potential, but if the goal lamp isn’t getting lit this season the word ‘bust’ might start being used.

Sampo Ranta, LW

The big winger once on the cusp of an NHL role had a poor 2022-23 AHL showing and has signed in Europe for 2023-24. The Avs appear to have retained his rights by issuing him a qualifying offer, so if he can get his development back on track the 23-year-old may still return to the conversation.

Matthew Stienburg, C

After a fantastic 2021-22 NCAA showing, the big pivot cooled off and managed meager counting stats as a Junior. He earned an AHL tryout but didn’t manage much in the bottom-six, and it’s unclear where the organization will use him for the upcoming year.

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Prospect Depth Chart

A combination of NHL readiness and upside.

LWCRW
Oskar OlaussonBen MeyersJean-Luc Foudy
Frederik OlofssonCalum RitchieNikolai Kovalenko
Riley TufteOndrej PavelCallahan Burke
Spencer SmallmanColby AmbrosioAlex Beaucage
Sampo RantaMatthew StienburgJason Polin
Andrei Buyalsky
Taylor Makar
Maros Jedlicka

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LHDRHD
Sean BehrensSam Malinski
Mikhail GulyayevGianni Fairbrother
Jeremy HanzelChris Romaine
Keaton MiddletonNikita Ishimnikov
Wyatt AamodtNate Clurman
Jack Ahcan

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Goaltenders
Justus Annunen
Arvid Holm
Trent Miner
Ivan Zhigalov
Shamil Shmakov

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Top 20 Fantasy Prospects

This section is intended to paint a picture of the Avalanche prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact at the time that they reach the NHL. Arrival date and NHL certainty have been taken into consideration. However, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list.

  1. Oskar Olausson
  2. Justus Annunen
  3. Calum Ritchie
  4. Nikolai Kovalenko

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  1. Sean Behrens
  2. Mikhail Gulyayev
  3. Jean-Luc Foudy
  4. Frederik Olofsson
  5. Sam Malinski

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  1. Alex Beaucage
  2. Ben Meyers
  3. Colby Ambrosio

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  1. Ondrej Pavel
  2. Arvid Holm
  3. Matthew Stienburg
  4. Trent Miner
  5. Andrei Buyalsky
  6. Jeremy Hanzel
  7. Jason Polin
  8. Ivan Zhigalov

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If you missed July’s 32-in-32 article, you can check it out here.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter: @soboleskih

Hayden Soboleski

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Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
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