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Colorado Avalanche prospect report: Five players who are moving on and why

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Cue the sad graduation music.

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche - Game Six Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Hi, hello, it’s your resident Colorado Avalanche prospect writer again. In my second year doing this, I will once again be bringing you weekly updates on Avalanche prospects who are Not Goalies and Not Playing In The AHL throughout their respective seasons.

But before we get to this year’s players, first we’ll bid farewell to the five prospects who have graduated to professional hockey. Last season, there were 13 prospects featured in the weekly reports, and five of them have moved on for various reasons.

Cale Makar

2018-19 Team: UMass-Amherst Minutemen (NCAA)
2019-20 Team: Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

Although I’m going to miss writing about Makar every week, but there was no doubt that he was ready for the NHL. Makar will begin his first NHL regular season with the Avs and hopefully pick up right where he left off last spring. It still remains to be seen who his defense partner will be, but Makar has proven that he can have success with any type of defender, whether it was Patrik Nemeth or Samuel Girard last spring. With Tyson Barrie’s departure, Makar will likely assume duties on the second powerplay, as well as play second-pair minutes to start the season.

Brandon Saigeon

2018-19 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs/Oshawa Generals (OHL)
2019-20 Team: Colorado Eagles (AHL)

Saigeon had an extremely strong overage season in the OHL, and it was good enough to earn him an AHL contract with the Eagles. The left-winger is projected to be third on the Eagles depth chart, and playing a depth role in the AHL probably be a bit of an adjustment period for him. Saigeon can’t be called up to the NHL unless he signs an entry-level contract with the Avalanche, so he’ll need to put in work with the Eagles to prove that he’s deserving of a chance in the NHL.

Nick Henry

2018-19 Team: Regina Pats/Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
2019-20 Team: Colorado Eagles (AHL)

Henry signed his entry-level contract with the Avalanche following the end of his junior career and played five games with the Eagles (three regular season, two playoff games). He didn’t record any points, but Henry got a good taste of AHL hockey in his brief stint. The Eagles are very deep at right-wing for the upcoming season, so Henry will likely bounce in and out of the lineup depending on how consistent he performs.

Shane Bowers

2018-19 Team: Boston University Terriers (NCAA)
2019-20 Team: Colorado Eagles (AHL)

Bowers signed his entry-level contract with Colorado back in March, turning pro and forgoing his junior year at Boston University. He joined the Eagles on an amateur try-out, playing four regular season games and four playoff games, and contributing one assist in the postseason for his first career professional point. Although Bowers’ projection is a depth player in the NHL, he’ll likely need more seasoning in the AHL (at least a full season there, unless he really shines out of the gate).

Gustav Olhaver

2018-19 Team: Tingsryds AIF (Allsvenskan)
2019-20 Team: Tingsryds AIF (Allsvenskan)

Olhaver was drafted out of Europe by the Avalanche in the seventh round in 2015. According to the NHL’s CBA, NHL teams hold European players’ draft rights for four seasons before they expire. Olhaver originally showed offensive promise in his first season following being drafted by the Avalanche, putting up 38 points in 36 games with Rogle’s U20 squad. However, his offense tapered off as soon as he began playing against men in Sweden, and he evidently didn’t impress enough for Colorado to sign him to a professional contract. Because the Avalanche didn’t sign Olhaver to any professional contract before the end of last season, their draft rights to him expired, which means he is now a free agent (and no longer an Avalanche prospect).