When the Colorado Avalanche sent Tyson Jost down to the AHL a couple weeks ago, the hope was that he would be able to find the offensive touch that made him the 10th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The stay with the Eagles is likely to be a short one, but it looks like it has been having the desired effect.
With the AHL’s All-Star break in front of them, the Colorado Eagles took to the road for two games this past weekend. The team split their four games in California, but the big story is that Jost is coming alive and hitting the score sheet - that and Spencer Martin’s absurd 68-save shut out Friday night.
Since being sent down by the Avalanche, Jost has looked good playing alongside A.J. Greer and Michael Joly. He has been getting a lot of ice time and was instantly installed on the team’s first power play unit. Jost has been driving play and getting a lot of chances and was finally rewarded over the weekend scoring his first three goals in an Eagles jersey.
Jost’s first goal came Friday night on a beautiful play that showed a few aspects of his game that we haven’t seen very often during his time in the NHL. Jost took a pass in the neutral zone and was able to show off some incredible awareness and puck skills with a between the legs drop pass to Greer. He then went to the net and was able to put the rebound past the goaltender. The goal showed both confidence in his own skill and a willingness to go to the net - two things that we’ve been waiting to see from him in an Avalanche jersey.
He had six shots on net Friday night and looked like the player Avalanche fans have been waiting for.
Jost was able to add two more goals on Saturday. He scored his first on the power play and did so with what have been the nicest shot of his professional hockey career. Setting up at the top of the face off circle, Jost looked like a left-handed Nathan MacKinnon out there.
It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows for Jost as Kurtis MacDermid of the Reign caught him with his head down coming through the neutral zone. Jost was fine, but the hit was a nasty one and put a spotlight on the biggest weakness in his game - the inability to adapt his game to bigger and stronger competition.
The hit should also stand as a reminder that the AHL isn’t the best place for young prospects like Jost that are trying to find their game. The league is filled with MacDermid - big, slow, undrafted bruisers that are just trying to make an impression. Going after high draft picks like Jost often end up being the way they can be seen. Most players aren’t out there trying to hurt anyone - though some are - but it’s one determent to Jost having a longer stay with the Eagles.
There is a strong likelihood that Saturday was Jost’s last game with the Eagles this season, but a lot can happen before the Avalanche resume their schedule on Saturday. Like maybe there isn’t room on the Avalanche roster Joe Sakic makes a trade for another forward...
For now the AHL is on their All-Star break and the Avs are starting their bye week so for the moment Jost isn’t going to be playing in either league. We’ll know more when the team returns from vacation, but for now we can take solace in the fact that Tyson Jost seems to be showing exactly what the front office wanted to see.
He’s been playing well and is now being rewarded for it on the score sheet - something that should go a long way in building the confidence he so desperately needs to succeed in the NHL.