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.
With the 28th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche selected Oskar Olausson. The 6’2” winger from Sweden makes his debut at the 13 spot in our top 25 under 25. Olausson has already signed his entry level contract with the intention to leave HV71, which will be relegated from the SHL to the Hockey Allsvenskan league this coming fall (the AHL version of the SHL)
The signing did come as a surprise but with the news of HV71 been relegated from the SHL, all signs now point to Olausson playing with the Colorado Eagles in the AHL this fall. There is also an outside chance he goes to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL, since they do own his junior playing rights.
From a development point of view, I would like to see him stay in the AHL this coming season - most likely playing in a middle-6 role with a little special teams time as well. But the Eagles are a team with lots of bodies looking for playing time. There is Martin Kaut, Sampo Ranta, Alex Beaucage, Shane Bowers, Jean-Luc Foudy, Jayson Megna, Keifer Sherwood, Dylan Sikura and Andreas Wingerli all looking to make an impact in a similar role. For Olausson, that is a lot of players to climb over. So, a move to play in the OHL, in order to play big minutes, every situation might not be a bad alternative to ensure he plays a meaningful role.
Oskar Olausson (2021) grabs his first-career SHL goal. Zion Nybeck (CAR) gets his first point of the season.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 24, 2020
Olausson is one to watch this season. He's a first-round prospect. pic.twitter.com/zxhEzM8qWv
Olausson brings a lot to the table that the Avalanche like. He has great skating mobility, size, high end skill, and the ability to play all three zones very well. He will have to grow into his body a bit yet, but playing in the SHL against men, has helped him against stronger competition.
He plays well in small areas and has a knack for getting open or finding open players to get the puck to. There isn’t too much flash to his game which can make people downplay his potential. He is a very meat and potatoes player who just gets the job done. Olausson is very much a goal scorer first, and projecting him next to Newhook in the near future is an easy connection to make.
Controlled Zone Entry (%) Leaders at the #WorldJuniors after Day 5:— Mikael Nahabedian (@hunterofstats) December 30, 2020
Alex Newhook (F) - 88% Controlled Entry %
Landon Slaggert (F) - 85%
Oskar Olausson (F) - 77%
Kasper Simontaival (F) - 77%
Matthew Beniers (F) - 75%
Maxim Groshev (F) - 71%
Scouting reports have him projected as a middle- 6 winger in the NHL, which is a fair comment to make. When Olausson is “on” he is very much a top end winger but he needs to learn to have that motor going all the time. He does tend to disappear for stretches in games.
At the NHL level he cannot afford to do that. There is a path for him and with the contract status of some key forwards, jobs look to be opening up in the 2022-23 season. With his ELC sliding this coming year (assuming he doesn’t make the NHL this season) he will have a full three years to play and go on a cheap contract for the Avalanche.
#14: Shane Bowers
#15: Drew Helleson
#16: Sean Behrens
#17: Mikhail Maltsev
#18: Alex Beaucage
#19: Trent Miner
#20: Colby Ambrosio
#21: Dennis Gilbert
#22: Daniil Zhuravlyov
#23: Tyler Weiss
#24: Nikolai Kovalenko
#25: Nick Henry