Colorado Avalanche Prospects
Alex Newhook is one of the Colorado Avalanche Prospects who will help the team get cheaper going forward. Photo courtesy of Ashley Potts/Colorado Eagles

For the fourth straight year, the Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff berth, beating the St. Louis Blues last Thursday night. Since then things have been less than smooth for Jared Bednar charges, with two defeats against the St. Louis Blues and the loss of key player Mikko Rantanen. Meanwhile, in Loveland, the Colorado Avalanche prospects like Alex Newhook and Sampo Ranta have been lighting it up for the Colorado Eagles.

Despite not parting with a first-round pick at the recent deadline the Avalanche and General Manager Joe Sakic believe they have enough at their disposal to go all the way. They are also aware it is win-now for the Colorado Avalanche as the current climate sets its hurdles for NHL teams. Luckily for Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche prospects on the way should help alleviate any salary cap hell.

In a recent CBS Denver article Sakic was quoted as saying:

“This is as deep of team as we’re going to have here. We’re going to have to get cheaper starting next year at some of those positions.”

Colorado Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic

The mention of cheaper is about the expiring contracts of Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, and Philipp Grubauer. Those three will be re-signed without a doubt but the expected jump in contracts for Makar and Grubauer means cheaper options needed elsewhere. This is why prospects on ELC contracts are vital to the success of your team and luckily for the Avalanche, they have another handful already here or seemingly on the way.

Alex Newhook – Forward – Drafted 16th overall 2019

To quote Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo “Oh Boy”. Alex Newhook has exploded at every level he’s played including five points in his first five professional games for the Colorado Eagles. There is also the possibility he could feature for the Avalanche before the end of the season. 

As far as Colorado Avalanche prospects go, Newhook is one of the reasons this team could continue to dominate even after this season. Ideally, he will end up being your second-line center but could slot in on the wing until Nazem Kadri’s contract expires after next season. Alternatively, you could slide him to the third line center role occupied by Tyson Jost, with the latter replacing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a shutdown fourth line next season. 

Sampo Ranta – Forward – Drafted 78th overall 2018

Since joining the Colorado Eagles Ranta’s shooting percentage is 22.2%. Now, there is no way this stays at that level in the AHL, never mind the NHL, but it does highlight the young Finn’s biggest asset… his shot. If that translates then the Avalanche have a cheap Andre Burakovsky replacement in two years. 

With two goals and four points in seven games for the Eagles, he is another who has had a hot start to the professional game. Ranta will have to work extensively on his defensive game though to make it to the next level. However, the Eagles did start Ranta with Newhook against the Tucson Roadrunners last Sunday Sunday to give fans a feel for these Colorado Avalanche prospects together and they didn’t disappoint. 

While the above two are currently plying their trade in the American Hockey League there are also a few Colorado Avalanche prospects that currently sit on the main roster.

Martin Kaut – Forward – Drafted 16th overall 2018

There’s a reason the Avalanche didn’t want to burn the first year of Kaut’s ELC last season when he got called up. This year has been a little more baffling given the call-ups ahead of him. It seems as though the time in the AHL has served him well and the Czech forward will be hoping he is now with the Avalanche to stay.

Bowen Byram – Defenseman – Drafted 4th Overall 2019

The defenseman has already proved this season he can hang in the NHL. Injuries and a COVID shutdown have hindered his progress, but with the possibility of Ryan Graves being picked by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft Bryan’s minutes should increase next season. He just needs to stay injury-free.

Connor Timmins – Defenseman – Drafted 32nd overall 2017

While not necessarily on an ELC next season, Timmins should still be a cheap option and everything said about Bowen Byram can be cut and pasted here. While Timmins, unlike Byram, has moved up and down between the Avalanche and the Eagles, the defenseman has shown he can hang in the NHL in limited defensive minutes. The next step will be how effective he stays with increased minutes. The time with the Eagles under Greg Cronin will help him grow, now he just needs to transition that to the NHL.

We’re going to need a bigger house for Trey’s ego as he wipes the floor with Scott. It’s going to take one hell of a comeback.

Honorable Mentions: Jean-Luc Foudy – Forward – Drafted 75th overall 2020

Foudy has been a revelation for the Eagles, given he was supposed to spend the season in the OHL. Because no season happened he was able to join the AHL and has 11 points in 26 games playing a depth forward role. It’s fair to say he will be back next season to continue his development and could even see a call up to the NHL roster soon.

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