Yesterday morning, the Colorado Avalanche released the list of players that will be attending this year’s rookie camp. Aside from the usual suspect, there were a few players invited on amateur tryouts - one of the more intriguing names on the list was Ty Lewis of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
A 2016 draft eligible forward, Ty Lewis took a huge step forward in his development this past season and many expected him to be selected when he re-entered the draft this past June. Though he was ranked as high as 59th among North American skaters, Lewis went undrafted yet again this year.
Lewis is now one of a handful of free agent players coming to Avs rookie camp and he’s definitely one we should be keeping an eye on.
After being injured for a large part of his 2015-16 draft season, Lewis broke out this past year. He tripled his previous career high, scoring 30 goals in his 70 games with the Wheat Kings. With top prospect Nolan Patrick injured for most of the season, Brandon struggled to score - of the 16 teams to make the WHL playoffs, the Wheat Kings ranked 15th in goals for. Lewis’ 30 goals were huge for his team.
The one critique towards his offensive breakout is that Lewis capitalized a lot on the powerplay. Only 17 of his 30 goals were scored 5 on 5, which dropped him out of the top-50 in the WHL. It’s not horrible, but being a little more productive at even strength likely would have helped scouts get a little more excited about drafting Lewis. With the extra space on the powerplay, he was able to show some more creativity with the puck - something that came a lot harder for him at 5 on 5.
Though he broke out with 30 goals this season and was one of Brandon’s biggest offensive threats, Lewis plays a very solid all-around 200-foot game. He’s solid in all three zones, playing a responsible, well-positioned game. Lewis’ 12.3% GFrel was second on Brandon - only behind Nolan Patrick - showing that while he was on the ice, his team was scoring a lot more goals than they were giving up.
“He has quick instincts and can pounce on a loose puck or get his feet moving fast on his first three strides. The way he is able to get a wrist shot off is super impressive. He has shown that there is upside and a solid offensive skill set to build upon. The way he forechecks is impressive as well and often shows off his work ethic and quick stride to badger the defence.” – Joel Henderson, Dobber Prospects.
It might be the case that he is only here for a week and that the Avs never talk to him again after the rookie tournament, but there is the potential that Ty Lewis could have a future with the organization.
If nothing else, Lewis is a kid that is worth taking a gamble on and it’s good to see the Avs front office identifying talented players that might have fallen through the cracks on draft day.