Now that draft has concluded and summer of 2019 is upon us it’s time for an update to the Colorado Avalanche prospects ranking. All factors of ceiling, floor, proximity to NHL and likelihood of contributing are all considered with more weight given to upside and current performance. Prospects don’t exist in a vacuum so their place and probability for success within the organization are factors as well. My personal ranking is as follows.
Just to note those who have played through their Entry Level Contracts and are now waiver eligible are not in this ranking which excludes players such as AJ Greer, Vladislav Kamenev and Ryan Graves.
For your audio pleasure, a podcast on the subject is also available HERE.
1 D Cale Makar
Technically only a prospect as industry lists still count high-end players as such the summer before their graduation to professional hockey. Makar is all but transitioned and ready to take the NHL by storm after his impressive sophomore NCAA season and Avalanche playoff debut.
2 D Bowen Byram
On the verge of NHL readiness with a complete game, Byram is the total package of elusive skating, high hockey IQ, slick puck moving ability and goal scoring touch. The Avalanche have the luxury of waiting one more year before unleashing Byram at the NHL level if they so choose.
3 RW Martin Kaut
Underrated at this point with 2.5 years of pro experience in a smart and mature game with a dynamic spark in his skillful hands and shot. If given the opportunity Kaut should contribute in the NHL in the coming season.
4 C Alex Newhook
Easily the highest upside of any forward on this list, Newhook has the top-notch skill level, agile skating and keen vision to impact the Avalanche top six in the future. Newhook also has a fair bit of distance and work ahead of him to polish his game and realize that talent to get ready for the pro level within the next couple years.
5 C Shane Bowers
The polish and maturity in his game is undeniable and he should have a quick transition at the pro level. Bowers projects as a dependable middle six center, just how much offensive upside is the only question mark but regardless he should make a NHL impact within a year.
6 D Nicolas Meloche
Currently a prospect misplaced by the organization but he has matured into a physical two-way defenseman who can move the puck and chip in a few goals. Meloche has been a solid pro at the AHL level and is ready to show what he can do in the NHL.
7 D Conor Timmins
All signs point to a healthy Timmins come training camp, which this ranking assumes. From there he will have to work hard to make up for lost time and also transition his skating, physicality and pace of play to the pro level. Timmins still possesses a high upside with his hockey IQ and puck moving ability but a also lot of questions to answer.
8 RW Nikolai Kovalenko
Experience in the KHL will only help his readiness to make an impact right away when he (hopefully) signs with the Avalanche in a couple years. Kovalenko’s brand of tenacity and skill is not easy to find and doesn’t need a top six role to be effective.
9 LW Sampo Ranta
Ranta is a tremendous athlete and looks poised to have a big year ahead. With his already pro level size, skating and shot Ranta just needs to put his game together within the next couple years with more consistency to possess a high ceiling.
10 G Adam Werner
A big step for Werner to sign his ELC and begin his North American professional career this coming season after a strong run in the SHL. His maturity and brief AHL experience in San Antonio should make for a quick transition,
11 D Drew Helleson
After a successful couple of years with the NTDP Helleson will make a new path in the NCAA and there he will show just how much offense there is to give, which will peg his upside. Regardless Helleson’s skating, high IQ and defensive polish should gain him a pro contract within a few years.
12 RW Nick Henry
At the apex of benefit of the doubt and promise. Henry had a fruitful junior career complete with ELC in hand but hasn’t run the gauntlet of the AHL yet. A lot to like about his game as a goal scoring complimentary winger but the forthcoming year will be telling.
13 RW Alex Beaucage
Championship pedigree cerebral sniper will be fun to watch the rest of his junior career. If his skating can come around Beaucage will climb up this list by the time he is looking to sign a pro contract in two years.
14 LW Ty Lewis
Good start to his pro career ended in disappointment at the end of the 2018-19 season. Lewis is an energetic and versatile complimentary winger who seems to find chemistry easily but needs a real opportunity to make steady progress in his second pro year.
15 C Igor Shvyrev
Another who saw the AHL zap his potential but the skill talent, vision and creativity is still there. Hopefully increased comfort and role as a two-way center will follow in Shvyrev’s second season in North America.
16 G Justus Annunen
A huge year ahead for Annunen to take the next step to regular play in the Liiga plus hopefully a shot at the net for team Finland at the World Junior Championship. Annunen is likely still several years away from an ELC and venture to North America but a good season could accelerate that timeline.
17 RW Logan O’Connor
The oldest prospect on this list plus the only one to have received a call-up therefore O’Connor gets the proximity and likelihood to contribute nod. His ceiling is limited to a penalty killing type energy role but the Avalanche seem to like O’Connor’s speed, tenacity and mature game which should get him some more NHL action.
18 RW Sasha Mutala
Flashes of talent locked away by inconsistency and unfortunate circumstances yet some underlying numbers point to a breakout ahead. If so, Mutala has the skill level and motor to raise his stock dramatically in his next two junior seasons before a possible pro contract.
19 C Brandon Saigeon
Only on an AHL contract, this rank assumes that ELC materializes in the spring and that the Avalanche have a plan for him. Saigeon projects as a steady AHL contributor, especially on the power play, with some two-way and goal scoring potential.
20 D Danila Zhuravlyov
A confusing 2018-19 season saw Zhuravlyov go from offensive to shut down defenseman but he played at the pro level and contributed as an 18-year old at the World Junior Championship. Probability to grow as an impact defenseman still remains for Zhuravlyov but clarity is needed in the coming year.
21 C Matt Stienburg
A long term investment in a legacy Avalanche should see Stienburg possibly on a four year NCAA plan. How much offense and strength he can develop in that time will determine his pro potential.
22 LW Cam Morrison
A decent college career seems to have Morrison ticketed for duty as a role player. In the AHL that has value with some hope for more after Morrison completes his senior year and likely signs an ELC next spring.
23 G Trent Miner
Miner is a real talent in net unearthed from the seventh round. A two year window to sign a pro contract as a CHL player means the Avalanche will have to make their decision on Miner sooner than they’d typically prefer.
24 LW Tyler Weiss
There is still upside with Weiss due to his puck skill and skating but in an injury plagued freshman season in the NCAA and non-participation at development camp means Weiss unfortunately hasn’t made much progress in the last year to realizing some of that potential but has several years left in school to rectify that.
25 RW Luka Burzan
Drafted one year overage Burzan doesn’t have as much runway as the other prospects in the 2019 draft class and will have to impress in the coming year to earn a pro contract. If Burzan can build on his breakout year and keep scoring goals he should do just that.
Credit to the Colorado Avalanche for the photo