So they don’t stay out of sight or out of mind, here’s a look at how the Avalanche amateur crew is fairing so far in the early 16-17 season.
Two of our amateurs that are expected to be signed this summer returned to their respective clubs for their second seasons after being drafted. Unfortunately they are in two very different situations.
- Jean-Christophe Beaudin and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are back atop the Q standings with a 13-4-2 record and are ranked 5th in the CHL. He’s the 1st line center and an alternate captain. So far he has 10G/9A in 16 games with what sounds like an unsustainable 19.2% shooting percentage. It probably is sustainable since it’s the Q and he shot 18% last year in the regular season and just a tenth less in the playoffs.
- Nicolas Meloche returned to the Gatineau Olympiques from Avs camp to find a team that might be looking to rebuild under former Avs video coach Mario Duhamel. They’re 17th out of 18 teams in the Q which is a shame, last year he was traded from a horrible Baie-Comeau team (who are currently 18th) mid-season for a significant haul. For his sake I hope they move him to a competitive team next month at the deadline, makes sense for everyone involved. Aside from that he’s missed a bunch of games from injury/suspension/Avs Camp but still leads the Olympiques D with 3G/3A in 11 games while handling top-pair duties.
- Ottawa 67’s captain Travis Barron is dealing with some similar issues as Nic Meloche with a team that’s 6-10-2 and at the bottom of the OHL’s East Division. He’s 3rd on the team in points (16) and 2nd in assists (14), a big improvement from his pace last year. Avs fans noticed his reluctance to shoot the puck during camp but he’s letting almost 2 per game rip, just haven’t been dropping for him. Last year he shot 12%, this year he’s at 6.9% so far. They’ll come and his contributions go beyond points to solid forechecking and defensive play as well. For a 7th rounder in his 18 year old season he’s doing just fine.
- The 14-3-2 Prince George Cougars are a pleasant surprise this season, leading the WHL in points and ranked 3rd overall in the CHL. It’s a little difficult to figure how 2016 3rd round pick Josh Anderson contributes without watching since he doesn’t put up points. Like any. No points in 17 games on a team that scores more than 31⁄2 goals per game. As a 17yo on a worse team last year he had 6 points in 39 games, this is somewhat troubling.
We have a mixed crew in college for the Avs. Will Butcher and Ben Storm are in their final seasons and Tyson Jost and Cam Morrison are in their first. Any, all or none could end up signing with the Avs this summer. Since none can attend training camp until they turn pro they are all somewhat unknowns when it comes to comparing their talent to similarly aged CHL and pro prospects.
- Will Butcher is captain of the #2 ranked DU squad and has 2G/5A in 8 games so far, tied for 4th in the NCHC. He was NCHC Defenseman of the Week back on Oct 31st for a 1G/3A performance in 2 games vs Western Michigan. It’s always been a bit unclear what the Avs management thinks about the diminutive D and what their plans are for him but from what we’re seeing in the pro dev ranks and bottom 6 at the NHL level there’s no reason not to give him 2 years to sink or swim at least.
- The oft-forgotten Ben Storm has transitioned from defenseman to checking line forward and was a bit of a nice surprise in Summer Dev Camp. He’s not a scorer (2 assists in 8 games this year) but he’s a solid defensive guy that might be worth some pro development time next year on an AHL contract.
- Tyson Jost’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks have been struggling recently but he’s fit in right off the bat as a freshman with 3G/7A in 9 games, 3rd in scoring on the team. The Hawks are often on CBSSN and I’d highly recommend catching a game if you have the chance. Impressive.
- Avs 2nd rounder from last summer Cam Morrison has settled in at #9 Notre Dame as a power forward, 7th on the team in scoring with 2G/3A in 8 games so far. Starting next month NBCSN will carry ND games every few weeks til February.
Note: DU plays at North Dakota this weekend and St Cloud is in CO Springs to play CC. Altitude often carries DU games (not this weekend tho’) if you’re wishing to catch Will Butcher in action.
- Nate Clurman is a senior at Culver Military Academy and officially committed to play at Notre Dame next year.
- Adam Werner is on loan to IF Björklöven in Allsvenskan from Färjestad and has a .931 Sv% and 2.01 GAA in 10 games this year. Considering the goalie situation in the AHL so far, he might be heading to North America next year.
- Big Gus Olhaver returned to Swedish juniors after a year in the WHL and has 2G/5A in 12 games for Rögle’s U20 team.
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Many people, including quite a few on MHH, follow some or all of these fellows with dedication. At this point in the season I’m totally focused on the pro guys but once it becomes dark and cold all the time I’ll start catching games for the guys expected to turn pro this summer and have something more than stats to put up, hopefully some special guests as well. For now, enjoy and ask questions. Smart people with answers stop by all the time.