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Colorado Avalanche prospect report: NCAA winter break and the World Juniors are soon

This was a little difficult to write with so many players off at World Juniors camps and on scheduled season breaks.

Aaron Bell / OHL Images

So, the NCAA is officially on winter break, which means this is going to be a very boring and strange prospect report. Also, I kind of get grumpy in the NCAA part because there is literally nothing to write about (and those who know me well will know that is what I hate the most). For the Colorado Avalanche prospects invited to their countries’ World Juniors camps, thank you for saving my sanity for this post. Without further ado (as to not drag this out any longer than it needs to be), here’s this week’s prospect report!

Ontario Hockey League

#17 - Brandon Saigeon (C)
Hamilton Bulldogs (15-17-2)

The Bulldogs have lost three straight games this week, but Saigeon still added two points for 54 points in 34 games this season. The overager continues to make a solid case for an entry-level contract with his play in Hamilton this season.

Western Hockey League

#21 - Nick Henry (RW)
Lethbridge Hurricanes (18-9-4)

It was a five-point week for Henry with his new team, as he added one goal and four assists with the Hurricanes. Lethbridge have won three straight games and put up 16 goals in that span. Henry now has 49 points in 34 games and leads the Hurricanes in scoring, so I continue to (internally) gripe about why he should have been named to Canada’s selection camp roster for the World Juniors. We can argue later about whether he actually could have made the team.


#16 - Cale Makar (D)
UMass Amherst Minutemen (14-2-0)

With the NCAA on its mid-season winter break, Makar and the Minutemen won’t play again until January. Please hold a moment of silence for Makar’s ineligibility to play at the World Juniors this year. I say this as someone who is the exact same age - he’s just too old.

#15 - Shane Bowers (C)
Boston University Terriers (6-8-2)

The Terriers beat Dartmouth in their final game of 2018, but Bowers was busy playing at Team Canada’s selection camp in Victoria. Bowers made the final team and is believed to be safe from the last cut Canada must make to accommodate injured players. At least, that’s what the insiders are saying. But Bowers was on Canada’s fourth line in practices this week, so the odds aren’t the greatest.

#26 - Cam Morrison (LW)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-5-1)

No games for Notre Dame until New Year’s Eve, so there really isn’t much to write here. At least Morrison gets a couple of weeks off?

#4 - Nick Leivermann (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-5-1)

There’s even less to write about here. Hooray for a little break in the college hockey schedule!

#2 - Nate Clurman (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-5-1)

Seriously, why are there so many Avs prospects at Notre Dame? Kidding, it’s a very good D1 hockey program, it’s just getting redundant writing about nothing.

#58 - Sampo Ranta (RW)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-6-4)

Yet another player on a team which started their winter break before last week’s report. However, Ranta will be on Finland’s World Juniors team, but they won’t play any preliminary games until this week, so there aren’t any new developments. This is getting super boring.

#25 - Denis Smirnov (RW)
Penn State Nittany Lions (11-5-2)

Penn State played one last game before the winter break, a 4-4 draw with the Princeton Tigers. Smirnov had zero points, zero penalty minutes, and zero other interesting statistics to mention here. All right, that’s not totally true - he finished with two shots on goal and a -2.

#40 - Tyler Weiss (LW)
Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (4-10-2)

How fitting is it that we end the NCAA players with Weiss, who plays on a team who is already on their winter break? I really hope the European players bring more exciting, uh, news to the table.


#51 - Nikolai Kovalenko (RW)
KHL - Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (23-12-3)

So, uh, Lokomotiv has not played since December 10th and their next game isn’t until the 18th. Does the KHL also take a winter break that I didn’t know about? Regardless, Kovalenko is on Russia’s selection camp roster and will have to survive five cuts up front to be playing for his country on Boxing Day.

#2 - Danila Zhuravlyov (D)
VHL - Bars Kazan (15-14-6)

Bars has played twice in the last week, an 11-3 win over Heilongjiang and a 9-3 loss to Karaganda. Like Kovalenko, Zhuravlyov is off with Russia at their selection camp, and needs to survive five cuts on the blueline to make the final roster (why did Russia name so many players?), which may be a tall task.

#19 - Gustav Olhaver (RW)
Allsvenskan (SWE) - Tingsryds AIF (11-13-5)

Last but not least, Olhaver has six points this season and played twice with Tingsryds this week. He didn’t record any points in the two games, but Tingsryds did win two straight, so that’s positive! The team climbed from second-last in Allsvenskan to fifth-last in one week, so they are trending in the right direction - hopefully that means Olhaver is too.