Colorado Avalanche – Offseason Prospect System Review

by Hayden Soboleski on August 8, 2018

 

***

Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.

 

***

OFFSEASON MOVES

Colorado’s biggest move was in net this off-season. Philipp Grubauer was brought in via trade as the heir apparent to Semyon Varlamov who enters the final year of his contract. The organization lacked goalies close to earning the backup spot from within, so this move doesn’t hinder any prospect trajectories in the short-term.

 

July 1st first wasn’t overly busy for the club, but depth was signed in the forms of Matt Calvert and Ian Cole.

 

Cole brings some proven top-four experience to the relatively young left-side defense featuring Girard, Zadorov, and Nemeth (Cole or Nemeth will play on the right side). The only prospects close to NHL-readiness are on the right side, so this move again doesn’t significantly block any upwards movement on the depth chart for the time being.

 

Calvert brings some energy to the bottom-six, most likely as 3LW or 4LW which does complicate things. With Nieto signing a two-year deal and looking like a full-time bottom-six LW himself, Calvert coming in makes it more difficult for AJ Greer to earn a spot out of camp, which he has been trying to do from the AHL for a couple seasons now. It also means that for Vladislav Kamenev to make his expected jump to the NHL, it will probably have to come at C (no room for learning on the wing like many young Cs tend to need). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Kamenev, in fact it helps his fantasy value for leagues that count FW.

 

The most influential off-season move for the organization wasn’t made by Colorado at all – Ottawa’s decision to retain their 2018 1st Round pick and defer their 2019 1st Round pick to the Avs will have enormous ramifications on the upcoming season. Having a lottery pick in hand regardless of where your own team finishes in the standings grants a lot of freedom for management.

 

***

GRADUATING PLAYERS

The youth movement officially began in 2017-18 in Colorado, with rookies Tyson Jost, JT Compher, Alex Kerfoot, and Sam Girard (post-trade) grabbing full-time NHL jobs. AJ Greer and Dominic Toninato got extended looks thanks to injuries up front, but neither played well enough to stick around.

 

In 2018-19, the most notable graduate will be Vladislav Kamenev. He was ready for full-time after being acquired in the Duchene blockbuster, but broke his arm in his first game with the new team. The spot is still ready for him. Greer will get another chance to grab a bottom-six winger spot out of training camp, but his stock has fallen significantly and looks like mostly a hits and PIMs contributor unless he finally clicks. Ty Lewis is a darkhorse candidate to steal a fourth-line gig at some point this year now that he will turn pro, the guy is a ball of energy that can do it all.

 

Once the NCAA season ends in 2019, look for top prospects Cale Makar and Shane Bowers to get pro looks – Bowers might get a few games in the AHL but Makar will likely jump straight to an NHL tryout and be immediately fantasy-relevant.

 

***

RISERS

  1. Conor Timmins – A stand-out on Team Canada at the WJCs, and another huge season in the OHL where he was one of the top-four d-men in the league. Has jumped into most “Top-50 Prospects” rankings.
  2. Shane Bowers – A late-first-rounder in the 2017 draft, Bowers might go higher in a re-draft. Successful rookie NCAA season and developed great chemistry with the talented Tkachuk, elevating his offense to new heights.
  3. Ty Lewis – Earned an ELC out of 2017 training camp, and went on to post a 100-point season in the WHL. Not too shabby.

FALLERS

  1. AJ Greer – Got an extended look in the NHL but couldn’t produce outside peripheral stats (albeit with minimal ice time).
  2. Denis Smirnov – Lackluster sophomore NCAA season after lighting it up as a rookie.
  3. Cam Morrison – Disappointing NCAA campaign, got big minutes but didn’t appear to take much of a step forward.

 

***

PROSPECT DEPTH CHART

Prospects listed with probable leagues for the 2018-19 season.

Players on AHL-only deals not included

 

Left Wing

Ty Lewis, AHL

AJ Greer, AHL

Sheldon Dries, AHL

Igor Shvyrev, AHL

Sampo Ranta, USHL

Denis Smirnov, NCAA

Cam Morrison, NCAA

Travis Barron, OHL or AHL

Tyler Weiss, USDP

Julien Nantel, ECHL or AHL

 

Center

Shane Bowers, NCAA

Vladislav Kamenev, AHL or NHL

Brandon Saigeon, OHL

Dominic Toninato, AHL

Logan O’Connor, AHL

Josh Dickinson, AHL

Gustav Olhaver, Allsvenskan

 

Right Wing

Martin Kaut, AHL

Nikolai Kovalenko, MHL or KHL

Nick Henry, WHL

Scott Komachuk, AHL

 

Left Defense

Josh Anderson, AHL or ECHL

Ryan Graves, AHL

Danila Zhuralyov, MHL

Mason Geertsen, AHL

Sergei Boikov, ECHL

 

Right Defense

Cale Makar, NCAA

Conor Timmins, AHL

Nicolas Meloche, AHL 

 

Goalie

Adam Werner, SHL

Justus Annunen, Mestis or Liiga

Petr Kvaca, Czech L1 or L2

Spencer Martin, AHL

Shamil Shmakov, MHL

 

 

TOP TEN FANTASY PROSPECTS

 

 

 

***

Rookie Camp

Dates haven’t yet been announced, but look out for Avs rookie camp in mid-September, immediately before training camp and pre-season. 

 

***

Thanks for reading and if you missed it, check out the July 31-in -31 covering the Avalanche 2018 draft here.

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih