The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers and 320 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 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.
In the past thirteen months, Conor Timmins has transitioned from one of the most underrated defensemen in his draft class to possibly one of the more overrated prospects by segments of the Avalanche fan base. He is a really good prospect and the likelihood of Timmins having a long and successful NHL career is very high - but he doesn’t have the high-end top pairing potential some want to believe.
He is also not NHL ready.
What Conor Timmins is, however, is an incredibly smart defender that moves the puck really well and will make his partner look better on almost every shift. He’s a prospect that will likely top out as a high-end second paring defender and a kid that needs a full season in the AHL under his belt before he is close to ready for the NHL.
Timmins had a breakout performance in the World Junior Championship last winter and showed that he might be one of the most fundamentally sound defense prospects in all of hockey. Unfortunately, shortly after the WJC, Timmins suffered a high-ankle sprain that cost him a large chunk of his final OHL season. He returned for the playoffs, but the ankle wasn’t 100%. Then in game 5 of the OHL Final, Timmins took a huge hit that ended his season. He sat out game 6 and hasn’t been on the ice for organized hockey activities since.
Timmins was held out of on-ice workouts during development camp, and it was wrongfully reported by some that it was due to the concussion. He was resting his ankle more than anything else and everyone involved believes he should be ready for the main camp at the end of the month. In fact, Timmins has been in Denver since last week getting himself acclimatized to his surroundings before on-ice workouts officially begin.
What makes Conor Timmins so successful is his mind. He can see the play developing and shows tremendous control and patience with the puck that you don’t normally see from players his age. He’s a great passer and shows a poise with the puck. It’s his vision and play development that is going to make Timmins a key part of the offensive system in Denver down the road.
While his passing and playmaking ability are the strongest part of his offensive game, Timmins knows when to jump into the play and create scoring chances for himself. He won’t do it often, but when he does, he’s shown that he has some nifty moves up his sleeves.
Timmins is listed at 6’2” and nearly 200lbs, but he doesn’t look overly imposing on the ice. He’s got decent size and strength, though that’s not what he uses to be successful in his own end. It’s his positioning and gap control that gives Timmins the ability to play a shutdown role against the opposition’s best line.
Conor Timmins is going to be a very good NHL defenseman for a long time - probably as early as 2019. This season will be all about developing in a pro system and getting acclimatized to a higher level of competition. If the AHL coaching staff is doing their job properly, Timmins will play a huge role with the Eagles this season - getting a lot of ice time and playing on both the powerplay and penalty kill.
Given time to develop properly, Timmins will be a rock on the Avalanche for the next decade. however, it’s important that we slow the hype train down just a little bit.