The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers have ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2021 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.
I was genuinely shocked when I saw Alex Beaucage ranked so low by my fellow voters. Ranked 20th in 2019’s Top 25 Under 25 (we didn’t do it last year), Beaucage has had an excellent two seasons with Rouyn-Noranda and Victoriaville in the QMJHL.
In 2019-20, at the age of 18, Beaucage finished fourth in goals in the Q with 40 goals in 63 games. The following season, still only 19, he got traded at the deadline from the Huskies to the Victoriaville Tigres, won the QMJHL championship with them (his second title), and led the playoffs in scoring. In total, he scored 53 points in 38 games, which would’ve put him in the top four in QMJHL scoring for the second year in a row. He now leaves Quebec to join the AHL Colorado Eagles as one of their more exciting forwards.
And might I remind everyone that he’s still only the sixth youngest player in the T25U25 list? That includes the three 18-year-olds the team just drafted.
Shooting, Soft Hands
It becomes immediately obvious after watching Beaucage that he’s got an incredible shot. Within his arsenal he’s got a slapshot, a snapper, and a deft off-speed wrister. His snapshot, or J-shot, has lots of pre-shot movement as he can swing it in from the outside a solid two feet towards his body where he can shoot it through defensemen’s legs — similar to Auston Matthews, though not as powerful.
His wrister is really fun to watch as he’s got a really strong ability to place his shots where he wants them. He’s able to find holes past the goalie and his highlights often show him stringing together skill moves that move the puck past defenders and into a spot where he can shoot it.
Overall, his abilities to pick spots, go off-speed, and move the puck just before he releases the puck are all assets that will stay with him as he transitions to the pro game. Pre-shot movement, picking corners, it’s all there.
Repeating what I said about Beaucage’s puck stills, he’s got a knack for finding the puck around him in tight spaces and getting it onto his stick. Whether it’s kicking it to his stick, or moving his body and an opponent’s stick to get a clear shot from in front of the net, Beaucage has an impressive spatial awareness about him that I think will serve him well in the AHL.
It’s also lended the label of power forward in a lot of people’s minds. I can see it, but I don’t think that’s where his development is going to take him. More likely, he’ll be a shooting winger with size enough to hold his own, but whose skating will determine whether he’s going to be able to help drive lines or whether he’ll just be a finisher.
Beaucage does lack a bit of footspeed, especially in his first few steps. In the Q, he’s often been able to stay in front of defensemen after he’s gotten around them, but he can’t get that extra step ahead of them and build a gap to get himself time and space. Working on his skating will be his primary task this summer so he can come into the AHL and keep up with the pace.
The QMJHL is probably the weakest major junior league in Canada, and is definitely the one with the weakest defensemen and goalies. This means forwards get to score a lot and can get away with shots and plays that might not work as well in WHL or OHL, let alone the AHL. This jump in competition Beaucage is expected to face next season will be a big indicator of whether he’s the real deal or a product of junior hockey being not as intense or unforgiving to mistakes.
This second “weakness” is not a real weakness, but more of a lack of data. Beaucage is from Quebec so he stayed and played in the QMJHL, perfectly normal. Unfortunately, we’ve just never seen him in any international tournaments in order to match him up against players from different areas. That will have to come in the AHL, but I’m betting that he’s going to figure it out.
Dobber’s Scouting Reports
Again, because he didn’t play in any international tournaments, there hasn’t been that much written about Beaucage. Luckily, Dobber is always to the rescue. Here is an array of quotes from Hayden Soboleski at Dobber.
“January 2020 – The power winger has continued to climb in the QMJHL scoring race, now up to 30 goals (2nd in the league) and 51 points (9th in the league) in 42 games played. The big 18-year-old was expected to take a step forward this season, but his ability to carry his club so heavily (the next highest goal scorer has just 18) has exceeded most expectations. Time will tell if his production can carry over into pro, where he will no longer be the go-to scorer (at first, anyways).”
“April 2020 – Beaucage finished the shortened 2019-20 campaign with 40 goals (T-3rd in the Q) and 70 points. These paces are very similar to his 2018-19 results, but he did so as the far and away team leader offensively rather than a supporting role. His responsibility to produce offense led to shooting and scoring from all over the ice, resulting in him being a threat at any given moment. As a big body, Colorado may be willing to sign him to a pro deal sooner rather than later, however he may return to Junior one more time to work on non-scoring related talents such as skating efficiency and focusing on scoring plays that will be reproducible against tougher competition.”
Beaucage highlights from 2019-20
His solo four-goal comeback overtime win.
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The 2021 QMJHL Championship winning goal, scored by Alex Beaucage
19. Trent Miner
20. Colby Ambrosio
21. Dennis Gilbert
23. Tyler Weiss
25. Nick Henry