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.
Nick Henry’s performance in his last season of junior hockey was finally good enough to earn him an entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche. The 19-year old veteran finished the regular season 7th in WHL scoring, and followed that up six points in seven games in the playoffs. Although it was an earlier exit from the playoffs than Henry was probably used to, the Avalanche immediately signed him to an ELC and loaned him to the Colorado Eagles for the remainder of the year. Henry went pointless in three games with the AHL team, but it was a good taste of what will await him next season.
Henry proved that he could be an offensive catalyst this past season in an expanded role with Regina. He saw top powerplay minutes and led the team in points on the man-advantage and shots on goal before being dealt to Lethbridge. There, his point-totals became extremely assist-heavy, and he really came into his own as an effective playmaker and puck distributor.
One criticism of Henry came regarding his production of offense. It became increasingly more apparent in Lethbridge that he would default to passing to his teammates instead of shooting the puck himself. While that could actually benefit him early on in the AHL, Henry has a strong, accurate release, is capable of scoring goals, and should take the shot more often.
The original knock against Henry was his skating — scouts just didn’t think it was explosive enough for professional hockey. There was a noticeable difference in Henry’s stride when he returned to the WHL last season. His stride was smoother, and he looked more agile. Obviously it will still need working on for him to become a successful point-producer at the next level, but the foundation is now there.
The Colorado Eagles are extremely deep at right-wing for the upcoming season, which means Henry probably won’t see as much ice-time as he was given in junior. He still has to fill out his frame and improve on details away from the puck. It’s up to Henry to show the coaching staff that he deserves more ice-time and a larger offensive role on the team.