The most polarizing figure in the Colorado Avalanche organization is officially coming back. Tyson Jost signed his Qualifying Offer for one year at $874,125 on Monday, sending Avalanche fans into hysteria or rage depending on how you view the 22-year-old. I’m a fan of the forward and don’t think he gets enough credit for his game’s defensive aspect. Also, at 22-years-old, there is still room for improvement. This contract gives both player and team another chance to do what they want.
With Matt Nieto landing with the San Jose Sharks, penalty kill minutes should be available for Jost this season. Sure these are unfavorable minutes where the likelihood of scoring is significantly decreased, but if the Avalanche wants to contend, they need to improve the Penalty Kill. Ideally, Jost, the No. 10 overall pick in 2016, wouldn’t be the person doing this, but not all top-ten selections are destined for greatness. Let’s take the last ten years, for example.
2010 – Dylan McIlrath. 66 NHL Games. Drafted by New York Rangers
Selected above Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Hayes, and Charlie Coyle in the first round, Dylan McIlrath has failed to leave his NHL mark. Selected by the New York Rangers in the 2010 draft, McIlrath is an enforcer type defenseman that has failed to transition his game to the new NHL.
He’s played 66 NHL games between three organizations (Rangers, Florida Panthers, and Detroit Red Wings) and has accumulated 121 Penalty minutes in that time. He is currently in the AHL with the Grand Rapid Griffins and had 73 penalty minutes in 44 games during the shortened 2019-20 season.
2011 – Jonas Brodin. 555 NHL games. Drafted by: Minnesota Wild
Jonas Brodin is a rock-solid top-four defenseman with the Minnesota Wild, which drafted him tenth in the 2011 draft. With 555 NHL regular-season games played, Brodin recently signed a seven-year extension worth $6 million average annual value (AAV).
Brodin’s path to the NHL was pretty swift, making his NHL debut in January 2013. After being drafted, he finished the 2011-12 season with Farjestad BK of the SHL before starting the 2012-13 season with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.
2012 – Slater Koekkoek. 149 NHL games. Drafted by: Tampa Bay Lightning
While Slater Koekkoek has seen his Average time on ice (ATOI) increase since his trade to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019, he remains a bottom pairing defenseman at best. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Koekkoek played 85 regular-season games for this year’s Stanley Cup Champions before falling down the pecking order and moving on to Chicago. This season his average time on ice (ATOI) was a career-high 16:45, and he also recorded a career-high 10 points.
Not all stats are good, though, and he also recorded a career year in Penalty Minutes (42) and giveaways (27). He is currently an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Blackhawks.
2013 – Val Nichushkin. 288 NHL games. Drafted by: Dallas Stars
Nichushkin just signed a two-year deal worth $2.5 million AAV with the Colorado Avalanche when he was considered the best player in his draft. This was the Nathan MacKinnon draft, by the way, to show how highly thought of he was. The Russian forward is slowly getting his career back on track after falling off a cliff with the Dallas Stars. His production both offensively and defensively on the Avalanche third line for the majority of the season pushed Jost backward, showing the depth available to Jared Bednar.
2014 – Nick Ritchie. 294 NHL games. Drafted by: Anaheim Ducks
Nick Ritchie is a third line forward at best. At worst, he’s a healthy scratch. Some even called for him to be benched during the recent playoffs for the Boston Bruins. At just under $1.5 million for another year, Ritchie probably plays fourth line minutes for the Bruins next season. This should see his time on ice continue to come in around 12:49, his average with the Bruins after the Anaheim Ducks trade.
2015 – Mikko Rantanen. 281 NHL games. Drafted by: Colorado Avalanche
A future Hall of Famer, Mikko Rantanen, played nearly a full season in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage before making the step up to the NHL permanently. Coming over from Finland straight after his draft, the winger played six times for the Avalanche before moving down to the AHL, averaging 8:57 of ice time in that short stint. He would get recalled for three more games during that 2015-16 season, but he widely believed his time in the AHL set him for success. Playing against grown men, he managed to put up 60 points in 52 games. He hasn’t looked back since and is one goal shy of 100 career regular-season goals.
After that, it gets hard to evaluate where the tenth pick will end up. 2016 was Jost’s draft year, and 2017’s Owen Tippett has only played seven NHL games with the Florida Panthers. At 21, most will say Tippett still has time, yet Jost is only a year older. The difference is Tippett has been allowed to develop and has also been electric in the OHL for both the Mississauga Steelheads and Saginaw Spirit. Jost was thrown to the wolves as shorts due to the Avalanche having a terrible team back then.
2018’s Evan Bouchard has also played seven NHL games for the Edmonton Oilers, while Vasily Podkolzin (2019) has yet to make his way to the NHL. However, it is to be seen what Cole Perfetti will do at the Winnipeg Jets after being picked this year.
So yes, it’s true, Tyson Jost is no Mikko Rantanen. Luckily for the Avalanche, he’s also no Dylan McIlrath. He’s somewhere in the middle with Nick Ritchie and teammate Valeri Nichushkin. When Jost signed his qualifying offer, he became a cost-effective option for a Stanley cup contender, which the Avalanche will be hoping they are going forward. It also gave him a chance to prove at 22-years-old he hasn’t finished developing.