A couple weeks go, we asked for your help in naming this year’s Top 25 Under 25 for the Colorado Avalanche. We gave the community the ability to vote, and the response was overwhelming. Thanks to a lot of hard work from Joe Sakic and the team’s front office, it’s a long list of eligible players and voting wasn’t easy.
The results are in and we will begin to unveil the list, starting with No. 25 this week.
In the mean time, here is a look at some of the players that got a few votes but didn’t make the Top-25 list this summer:
Nick Leivermann - LD
The left-shooting defender got a handful of votes in the fan voting - as high as 17 - and a single 25th place vote by one of our writers.
Turning 20 in the fall, Leiverman is set to start his NCAA career at the University of Notre Dame where he will become teammates with fellow Avs prospect Cam Morrison. While waiting for his scholarship, the Eden Prairie, Minnesota native spent last year in the BCHL where he put up 37 points in 43 games.
It’s not surprising that he was left off most lists. Leiverman was drafted in the 7th round last summer, and while we should learn a lot about him this season, there’s a very good chance he never gets an ELC offered from the Avalanche.
Denis Smirnov - W
Smirnov is a guy who many were excited about when he was drafted in the 6th round last summer, but he took a bit of a step back this past season. The diminutive forward had 27 points in 30 games while battling through injuries at Penn State last year.
Going into his 3rd NCAA season, Smirnov will hope to get back to the form that saw him put up an incredible 47 points as a freshman in 2016-17.
Smirnov had a few votes in the high-teens from fans, while Cat had him at 22 on her list. He’s a guy that might have been lost in the depth chart this past year, but he very well could make a huge impression on fans this season.
Sheldon Dries - C
A new addition to the organization, Sheldon Dries is a 24-year old that is going to likely be a big part of the Colorado Eagles this season. Dries had 19 goals in 70 games as a rookie with the Texas Stars last season.
In his only year of eligibility, the undersized center broke into the top-25 for a handful of fans, while also making the list for two of our writers.
Pretty goal by Sheldon Dries in OT tonight for Texas Stars. Goal of the year candidate pic.twitter.com/kkUNsaNHPB— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 9, 2017
Petr Kvaca - G
Another player that will likely never get a contract from the Avalanche, Kvaca is a 20-year old goalie that the team took a flier on as an overager in the 2017 draft. He had a decent .923 sv% in the Czech second league, but when he got called up to their top league, he didn’t fare very well.
The Avalanche hold his rights for another two summers, so no decision has to be made any time soon, but by drafting two more (younger) goalies this year, the team is giving signals that Kvaca is not in the long-term plans.
Kvaca received a 24th place vote from one of our writers as well as a few votes in the 20s during the community vote.
Nikolai Kovalenko - RW
This one was a bit of a shocker and can probably be chalked up to people simply not knowing a whole lot about the player. Kovalenko was drafted in the 6th round this past June and was instantly viewed as one of the biggest steals in the draft by a number of analysts.
He’s been playing in the MHL and hasn’t been on any Russian international teams for the past few years, so Kovalenko is a mystery to many. Though he was drafted 171st overall, Kovalenko has the skill that had him universally ranked in the top-100 and as high as 66th by HockeyProspects.com.
The son of former Avalanche forward Andrei Kovalenko, the 18-year old is going to surprise a lot of people this season. He fell out of the top-25 in the fan vote, but was as high as No. 19 for myself and Jackie K.
Something tells me Kovalenko will skyrocket up this list next summer.
Nikolai Kovalenko # 15 covers for his pinching D-man, enters the zone as a late attacker, then sets up a teammate for the 3-0 goal.— Hockey Guy (@FlyingSkate94) May 27, 2018
He’s grossly underrated, competes hard and coaches have leaned on him this season (not always in offensive roles)#2018NHLDraft #BlackSeaCup pic.twitter.com/6naYrG2duz