Now that March 1st has passed, signing season begins to ramp up for amateur prospects. The Avs signed their first of the year and first prospect from the 2014 draft today, locking down 19 year old forward Julien Nantel of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL). It's a 3-year deal with an AAV of $680k in the NHL and $65k in the AHL.
Nantel is in his 3rd season with the Huskies and has 19G/23A in 48 games. He is currently out with a concussion but word on the street is that he may return to the lineup Wednesday against arch-rivals the Val d'Or Foreurs. Just a reminder, Avs 2015 2nd round pick AJ Greer and 2015 3rd round pick J-C Beaudin are also with the Rouyn-Norandalanche.
I like this signing a lot, he can play any forward position, is strong and dependable defensively and has offensive skills to boot. In the few games I've seen I've really been impressed with the way he seems to immediately get the puck moving forward any way possible. With the new Avs catchphrase being "puck management forward" he fits that well. Although he was picked in the 7th round, some folks had him as high as the 2nd round back in 2014. Given the turnover we expect to see in San Antonio this summer he should slot in right away at either wing or center.
If you're interested in following young Julien through the rest of the Q regular season and playoffs, I highly recommend following Rouyn-Noranda beat writer Jean-François Vachon