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.
Drafted 61st overall by the Colorado Avalanche just a few weeks ago, Sean Behrens will be in Denver this fall as he is committed to play at University of Denver. Coming in at 16th on our top 25 under 25 list, Behrens is another smooth skating, short, great defensemen the Avalanche were lucky to have added to their already deep prospect pool.
Prior to being drafted, Behren played his draft and D-1 years for the US National Team Development Program and also represented the USA on the national level at both the U17 and U18 World Junior tournaments. He is regarded as a leader on and off the ice - the captain, a rink rat, extremely hard worker and a coachable player.
Behrens is probably the best in the draft class at one specific thing: OZP touch consistency. Whether the next play's a rim or look-off cross-slot pass, he scans, moves into space, and takes the pass in motion. Habits + manipulation + skill +vision = consistent chance creation. pic.twitter.com/pCbrTzaAe2— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) July 17, 2021
While many assume he is just another short, smoothing skating offensive defensemen, don’t the Avalanche have enough of these guys? The answer is no, and Behren is quite the opposite. His strength lies in the defensive zone. He is only 5’10” but he doesn’t play like it. He’s one of the more aggressive d-zone players in the entire draft class. Behrens is an excellent defender, has a “in your face” attitude and battles hard to win the 1v1 puck battles.
While some worry about his offensive ability - he doesn’t put up the point totals you’d like to see from an “undersized” defender - he is more than capable with the puck. He is an elite playmaker from the back-end. his shot-assist totals show a player that knows how to put his teammates in the position to get scoring chances. In junior, that type of advanced metric counts for a lot more than raw assist totals.
Behrens is a few years away from making the Avalanche roster. I can see him spending two years at DU, with a World Junior appearance at Christmas time. After he matures a little more physically, and adds a quickness to his skating he will be able to challenge for a spot in the NHL. I can see a year in the AHL to adjust to the pro speed being very helpful in his development after he leaves the NCAA. That would set his debut to be the fall after Devon Toews contract has expired.
There is a lot to be excited about with Behrens. While many fans around the league are clamoring for the big, physical defensemen, especially after Montreal’s playoff run, the Avalanche continue to double down on defensemen - regardless of size - who can move the puck effectively through all three zones and who play a game more conducive to the modern NHL
17. Mikhail Maltsev
18. Alex Beaucage
19. Trent Miner
20. Colby Ambrosio
21. Dennis Gilbert
23. Tyler Weiss
25. Nick Henry