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The Colorado Avalanche select Alex Newhook 16th overall

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The Avalanche take the best skater in the draft

With the 16th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche have selected Alex Newhook from Victoria of the BCHL.

Earlier in the draft, the Avalanche selected defender Bowan Byram with the fourth overall pick. It kicked off what has been an incredible night for the future of the Avalanche organization, with the team immediately improving both their centre depth and their defensive core in one fell swoop.

Newhook was initially a potential top-five contender, but a slow start to his BCHL season with the Victoria Grizzlies pushed him down the draft boards far enough to leave him as prime pickings for Colorado midway through the first round.

A native of Saint John’s, Newfoundland, Newhook decided to move to the Greater Toronto Area at 14 in order to further his hockey development. With a desire to go the NCAA route, Newhook eventually made his way to the BCHL rather than play for the Halifax Moosheads - the team that own his CHL rights.

The 18-year-old center eventually found his game this season and finished off the season with such high numbers that it’s hard to imagine he ever got off to that initial slow start. His 102 points in 53 games were good to take home the league lead in assists, the league’s MVP trophy at the season’s end, and the top scoring trophy when all was said and done.

Said to be an elite skater with top-notch acceleration, Newhook is both smart and evasive; he’s got a smaller frame, but has the agility and hockey IQ to slip through defenders and weave around roadblocks to become a one-man machine. He needs some work on his shot and may need to add some upper-body strength before he’s NHL-ready, but overall the Avalanche have a player that should make them incredibly happy when he eventually hits the pros.

Next year, though, fans of the Avs will get to watch their second first-rounder feel his way through the NCAA. He’s headed to Boston College, where he’ll get to make his mark with the Eagles a few years before his younger sister, standout 16-year-old forward Abby Newhook, is committed to join the school’s women’s program.

From NextGen Hockey:

“Newhook’s acceleration and top speed are both among the best in this year’s class, and he can turn on a dime to separate himself from a defender. He also uses his stocky frame and low centre of gravity to his advantage to protect the puck under pressure. This combination of speed, vision, and puck protection effectively made him the Puck Possession King of the Pacific Northwest.”

From EP Rinkside:

Newhook’s footwork, agility and heel-to-heel skating are high, high-end. He can skate circles around the opposition if he wants to.”

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