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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25; #4 Tyson Jost

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Jost will look to take another step forward and avoid a sophomore slump next year

Canada v Germany - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

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.

Tyson Jost gave fans permission to hope for the best last spring when, after just one year of NCAA hockey, he opted to ink his entry-level deal with Colorado and go pro.

In a standout draft class that looks to be one of the strongest in years, the 2016 10th overall pick was clearly good enough to make the immediate jump to the pros after his phenomenal rookie campaign for North Dakota. With 35 points in 33 games as a freshman, he was only outscored by sophomore forward Shane Gersich and sat neck-in-neck with Vancouver Canucks then-prospect Brock Boeser.

While Boeser went on to earn himself a Calder finalist nod for a 55-point season on one of the league’s worst teams, though, Jost’s 23 points were a noticeable step down from the top tier of prospects in that 2016 class. While Matthew Tkachuk and Clayton Keller joined the top three draft selections in quickly rising to the top of their team’s rosters in scoring, Jost got a bit of a reality check: indeed, he’ll need more seasoning before he’s truly able to showcase his best work at the NHL level.

Of course, that’s not to say that he isn’t still one of the team’s most promising young players.

Although he only managed 23 points on the year, Jost’s progression as the year went on was noticeable. After getting sheltered minutes through the first months of the season, the 20-year-old forward earned his way up to nearly 15 minutes of ice time a night on average with increased responsibility during the final stretch of games. He managed a two-goal game in the final week of the season, getting him up to 12 goals as a rookie, and his increased shifts also saw him up his shot count substantially before the year was up.

His possession numbers still need some work - at even strength, he posted just a 46.0 Corsi For percentage and negative relative shot differential numbers compared to his team on average - but he clearly gained confidence and control that should help to stave off the sophomore slump.

Add in an incredibly promising four-goal, six-point performance through nine games at the World Championships in May, and there’s a lot to look forward to from the Alberta native next year.

As a speedy, offensive-minded player, it’s clear that Jost’s strengths lie in creating scoring chances for both himself and his teammates.

His biggest knock early in the season seemed to be his defensive confidence. He looked a little lost in his own zone to start, and his faceoffs need work if he hopes to get work as a center in the NHL long-term.

Still, it became abundantly clear that as his confidence went up, his ability to think the game at NHL speeds went up as well. He’s now looking at increased responsibility from the get-go next year, and a full season of success under his belt should only make it even easier for him to improve.