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Colorado Avalanche prospect report: Marching towards the NCAA & KHL playoffs

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Everybody’s in playoff mode except the CHL.

Beanpot Round 1: Boston College Vs. Boston University Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Hello again!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about why these reports don’t cover goalies. I did mention it at the beginning of the season, but I will reiterate it again: these prospect reports only follow Avalanche prospects who are Not Goalies and Not In The AHL, because we have other experts for those players, and covering 15 players on a daily basis is already a monstrous task for me as I try to graduate in June and juggle a new job.

Justus Annunen is obviously a very hot-button topic — for good reason. If there is anything groundbreaking I can find on him that’s happened over the last week, I usually do include it, but it’s also pretty rare. I did do very detailed and comprehensive coverage of his play at the World Juniors for the site, so you can just search up any of my WJC recaps if you’re curious to know what I thought of him then.

As Jackie so kindly pointed out in the comment’s of last week’s update, Annunen is battling an injury right now. If you are interested, he doesn’t have too common of a name, and it’s pretty easy to search latest updates on Twitter. But I’m going to keep doing these reports the way I always have until I’m able to make that change to include goalies.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto everything that’s happened in the last three days — including the four Colorado Avalanche prospects on NCAA teams that clinched conference championships over the weekend.

Canadian Hockey League

WHL

#44 - Bowen Byram (D)
Vancouver Giants (32-31-5)

Another strong weekend for Byram saw him put up a goal and four assists in three games — Vancouver climbed up to second in the division.

Oh, and fellow Avs prospect Trent Miner also had a great week.

Byram is up to 48 points in 47 games this season. Despite missing an entire month because of the World Juniors, his torrid scoring pace lately has seen him fault into the top-10 in scoring among WHL defensemen.

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Lately I’ve been in my bag

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Oh, Bo.

#34 - Sasha Mutala (RW)
Tri-City Americans (17-36-6)

It was a rough weekend for the Americans, and Mutala went pointless in two games. He still has 66 points in 58 games this season.

#27 - Luka Burzan (C)
Brandon Wheat Kings (34-21-6)

Because last week’s report came out so late, the dates that are tracked on this report means that Burzan didn’t record any points in Brandon’s two games. But he did have a three point game on Wednesday night that I mentioned in the last report.

Brandon sits second in the division, having clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday night.

QMJHL

#16 - Alex Beaucage (RW)
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (27-28-4)

No points for Beaucage in two games this weekend, either. Rouyn hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, but they remain in fourth place in the conference. Beaucage still has 64 points in 59 games this season.

NCAA

HOCKEY EAST

#18 - Alex Newhook (C)
Boston College Eagles (23-8-1)

Their regular season may not quite be over yet, but Boston College clinched the Hockey East conference with their two wins this weekend over Merrimack and Boston University.

Newhook had another stellar weekend, contributing two goals and two assists.

Newhook hit the 40-point milestone over the weekend in 32 games with BC this season, which is a huge deal. (Oh, hey, T.J. Tynan!)

#4 - Drew Helleson (D)
Boston College Eagles (23-8-1)

Good news! Helleson returned from injury and just in time, too, with Hockey East playoffs in a couple of weeks:

Boston College will wrap up their regular season with a home-and-home series against New Hampshire.

BIG TEN

#26 - Cam Morrison (LW)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-13-7)

Notre Dame wrapped up their regular season with two games against Michigan State. Now, these games didn’t go well, but it was really awesome to see Morrison score on his senior night.

The seniors gathered for a postgame photo — peep Cam on the far left. He finishes his senior season with 25 points in 34 games.

#4 - Nick Leivermann (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-13-7)

No points for Leivermann this week. He finishes the regular season with five goals and 12 points in 29 games this season.

#2 - Nate Clurman (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-13-7)

Clurman went pointless as well. He had nine assists in 34 games this season. Notre Dame will head into the first round of the Big Ten playoffs against Minnesota.

#58 - Sampo Ranta (RW)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-13-7)

Minnesota dropped one game and tied the other against Michigan over the weekend. Ranta went pointless, but the Finn finished the regular season with 11 goals and 19 points in 32 games. It will be a battle of the Avs prospects next weekend in Minnesota as the Irish come into town.

#25 - Denis Smirnov (RW)
Penn State Nittany Lions (20-10-4)

Penn State had the week off, but Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin was enough for the Lions to clinch the conference.

The first place team in the Big Ten gets an automatic bye to the second round of the playoffs, so we won’t see Smirnov in action for another week. He finished his final, injury-ridden NCAA regular season with 19 points in 31 games.

NCHC

#40 - Tyler Weiss (LW)
Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (13-16-5)

Omaha was shut out by Miami in both their games over the weekend. Weiss has 22 points in 34 games this season — double his freshman point totals — and Omaha will wrap up their regular season next weekend against North Dakota.

ECAC

#20 - Matthew Stienburg (RW)
Cornell Big Red (23-2-4)

Cornell ended their ridiculously victorious season with two wins over St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Stienburg added a goal:

Stienburg finished his freshman regular season with ten points in 27 games on one of the best teams in the NCAA. And it was no surprise to anyone that Cornell clinched the Cleary Cup as ECAC’s best team, either.

The top four teams in the ECAC conference get byes to the quarter-finals, so Cornell will have next weekend off.

Europe

KHL

#51 - Nikolai Kovalenko (RW)
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (31-23-5)

It’s KHL playoffs time! Lokomotiv dropped their first game of round one to Jokerit, and Kovalenko went pointless. He finished the regular season with 21 points in 54 games.

#2 - Danila Zhuravlyov (D)
Ak Bars Kazan (42-13-5)

Bars won the conference and head into their first round matchup against Nizhekamsk today, actually. And good news — Zhuravlyov returned from his injury in the team’s last game of the regular season (on Thursday).

These prospect reports were compiled with information from the WHL, QMJHL, Flashscore, and NCAA. Please leave your questions for next week’s report in the comments below!