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.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already since J.C. Beaudin was drafted. At the time, he was a promising two-way centerman in the QMJHL, trusted by coaches in any situation despite there being higher-scoring teammates (spoiler alert: this is foreshadowing).
His Draft+1 and Draft+2 seasons in the QMJHL saw him thrive offensively in a bigger role with his club, again reinforcing him as a reliable teammate trusted by the coaching staff.
Turning pro could not have been what Beaudin expected. He totaled 34 AHL games last season, usually not in a leading role, bouncing in and out of the lineup regularly. For some more consistent ice time, he spent 30 games (with fewer scratches) in the ECHL. Not only did he immediately prove he was too good for the league by scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace during the regular season, he was a playoff stud, and helped lead the team to a second-straight Kelly Cup. From the coach: “[Beaudin’s] given some outstanding individual efforts and I think our team has built off some of their outstanding play”.
By all standards, he is too good for the ECHL, and anything less than regular AHL ice time would be a waste of his potential. He will get much more opportunity thanks to the fresh franchise no longer sharing roster space with other teams’ prospects, but he will still have to earn his ice time. There are certainly avenues for improvement.
His two-way game is solid, and he just needs familiarization with a system. This aspect of his game will come along just fine once he starts playing regularly. Earning a regular spot however, will require some offensive success. 7 points in 34 AHL games couldn’t get him in the door last year, but we know there’s more to give based on 27 points in 30 ECHL games as a rookie. Even though he’s primarily a passer, he needs to work on getting his shot through. His SOG rate doubled in the ECHL vs the AHL - he clearly needs to get comfortable finding the net against the tougher competition. He was a two-time 30-goal man in the QMJHL, and actually put up more goals than assists in his fantastic ECHL playoff run, so it’s not like he completely lacks this ability. Fingers crossed that he works this out in the AHL in 2018-19.
Still only 21, he’s not aging out of the system yet by any means. But it’s time for Beaudin to prove he can play at the pro level, and its time for the organization to give him the role he needs to do so.