The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey writing staff. Our writers, plus a special vote from the readers, ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2017 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
When you can select a right-handed defenseman with a solid all-around game and underrated offensive ability outside of the first round, you’re having yourself a good draft. That’s exactly what the Colorado Avalanche got when they drafted Conor Timmins 32nd overall this past June.
He was one of the older players in the draft - three days from being eligible for 2016 - so it hurt his stock with many draft observers that follow the ‘late-birth date’ theory. He has had more time to develop than many of his draft peers, but that shouldn’t be a big strike against him as he enters training camp as one of the top prospects in the Avalanche system.
More often than not you’ll see Timmins described as a two-way defender and while he does have a very solid all-around game, his offensive numbers last season were incredible. Not only did Timmins lead all draft eligible CHL defensemen in offensive production, he led all OHLers - regardless of age - in 5v5 production this season.
5v5 Production for OHL Defensemen
His play last season was enough to get an invitation to Team Canada’s World Junior Summer Evaluation Camp. This past month, Timmins was a part of the team that competed at the World Junior Summer Showcase, and while he had flashes of great play, somewhat underwhelmed. From the start, Timmins was iced in a top shutdown and penalty killing role - he seemed overwhelmed at times, but quite frankly he was weighed down by Vegas draft pick Nic Hague through the early games. Once he got away from Hague, Timmins looked a lot better and while he was on for a lot of goals against, he fared pretty well considering he was in a role and system he wasn’t used to.
Timmins isn’t a shut-down guy. He’s a player that can be counted on to help run the system as a puck mover and calming presence on the blue line.
I truly believe that the Avs got a steal when he fell to them at #32 - the proof of that will play out over time. He might not have the potential to be a number-1 in the NHL future like his new teammate Cale Makar, but he will be a very solid second-pairing player that will contribute on the second powerplay unit.
With the graduation of Tyson Jost and Mikko Rantanen, the system isn’t necessarily filled with prospects worth keeping a close eye on - Conor Timmins is definitely one that Avs fans will soon get excited about. He is going to spend this season back with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds where he’ll be looking to dominate on a team that should be very strong.
Conor Timmins is almost a boring player because his one elite tool is his mind. He thinks the game really well and you will go a whole game without noticing him, simply because he has been calm, stable and hasn’t made any bad plays that stand out.
With the lack of depth in the organization and the fact that Timmins is a little older than many in his draft class, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he makes his NHL debut as early as 2018-19. He’s a solid - if not flashy - defender and by this time next year, there’s a strong possibility he’ll be well inside the top-10 on this list.