Colorado Avalanche: August 30 in 30

by Hayden Soboleski on August 8, 2016

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The mantra of players and management in Colorado this season: This is the year.

 

This is the year the Avalanche will either take a step forward with a better supporting cast than they've had in years, or fail once again to compete amongst the Western Conference elite, signalling the need for bigger changes. Good news for fans: the organization is heading in the right direction when it comes to drafting and stockpiling useful prospects, meaning the NHL squad should have no problem fillling out its roster for the next 3-4 years. Lets take a look at the talent pipeline. I've included players who I consider prospects with long term fantasy potential, either with no NHL experience or very minimal NHL experience and still on entry-level contracts:

 

                                                    Depth Chart (includes drafted but unsigned prospects):

LEFT WING

CENTER

RIGHT WING

Cameron Morrison

AJ Greer

Turner Elson

Sam Henley

Travis Barron

 

 

 

Tyson Jost

Rocco Grimaldi

JC Beaudin

Julien Nantel

Gustav Olhaver

Reid Petryk

 

 

Mikko Rantanen

JT Compher

Josh Anderson

Troy Bourke

 

 

 

 

LEFT DEFENSE

RIGHT DEFENSE

Chris Bigras

Sergei Boikov

Mason Geertsen

Will Butcher

Duncan Siemens

Anton Lindholm

Andrei Mironov

 

Nicolas Meloche

Nathan Clurman

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOALTENDERS

Spencer Martin

Adam Werner

Maximilian Pajpach

Jeremy Smith

 

Most players in the above system are long-term projects in fantasy hockey. with the exception of Rantanen, Compher, and Bigras, most are more than a year or two away from cracking the NHL. On top of that, only Jost, Morrison, Beaudin, and Greer have enough upside to strongly consider drafting unless you have some late round picks to spare. This collection is a good accumulation of talent for the organization, but not one to bank your fantasy leagues on. I don't recommend drafting any goaltenders in the Avalanche system for fantasy hockey, the wait will be too long for what appears to be minimal upside at this time.

 

Rantanen, Compher, Jost, and Bigras are must-draft players. Rantanen very high, Compher high, and Bigras and Jost high as well. The first three are enormous talents who will get the chance to show them sooner than later – a big asset in fantasy hockey where owners are often left to wait years before being able to judge their picks. Jost is a special leadership piece who the organization will build around when the time comes – another invaluable asset in a fantasy hockey pick.

 

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On The Rise:

  • JT Compher's stock rose thanks to an incredible season by Kyle Connor, but he earned his top-line status and was hailed as one of the fiercest competitors in the league – a good quality for a quick jump to the pros.
  • Sergei Boikov has developed into a steal of a pick, shooting up the defensive ranks this season which featured big minutes on Team Russia in the WJCs and a brief stint in the AHL at the end of the year. Not overly fantasy relevant outside of hits but could earn enough minutes to matter.
  • AJ Greer started last season pretty poorly in the NCAA, but after switching to the QMJHL he found his groove, and was a force in the playoffs coaches dream of in power forwards. Still needs time to smarten up.

 

Losing Ranks:

  • Rocco Grimaldi was traded out of Florida even after some NHL looks.He will get a chance to push for a full-time bottom-six Avs spot out of camp, but will likely be stuck as a 13th forward if he can't outplay his internal competition.
  • Mason Geertsen is still way too young and promising to get worried about, but after being a cornerstone defender in the WHL, he needs a bounceback AHL season after his rookie campaign left lots to be desired.

 

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Top 10 Prospects:

1. Mikko Rantanen – dominated the AHL in his first year coming oover from the Finnish men's league, has the size and the high-quality shot to play in the NHL

2. JT Compher – an intense competitor who creats space for veryone else on the ice. Will be hard to deny a spot out of camp as long as he can keep up.

3. Tyson Jost – hailed as the next Johnathan Toews, but willl spend at least a year (probably two) in NCAA to learn and develop 

4. Chris Bigras – outstanding in OHL, adjusted well in AHL and became a reliable d-man, and didn't look too out of place in brief NHL looks. Another strong AHL year is what he needs most.

5. Cameron Morrison – big, strong, goal scoring power-forward has too much potential not to rank high here. He wont be achieving it immediately however.

6. Sergei Boikov – low offensive ceiling, but could become a minute-mincher defenseman and has adjusted well to every league and tournament he's been in.

7. Rocco Grimaldi – short on chances left but has the speed and skill to be a useful depth NHL option right out of the gate. Will get looks, but how many is uncertain.

8. AJ Greer – showed his potential in QMJHL playoffs, but on a stacked team . Still lots of development needed, both in talent and decision-making. 

9. Spencer Martin – will split starter duties in the AHL this season. Has worked his way up the ladder as all goalies must; his chance will come in a few years.

10. Nicholas Meloche – too young to bank on, but too talented in all facets to ignore. Stud potential, but the pros are a ways away and very different than junior.

 

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For all Colorado Avalanche Prospect profiles, click anywhere in this line.

 

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Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih