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Avalanche first round pick Oskar Olausson signs with the Barrie Colts of the OHL

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The Colorado Avalanche decide to take an unfamiliar development course for one of their top prospects

Shortly after signing his entry level contract with the Colorado Avalanche, 2021 first round pick Oskar Olausson announced that he would be leaving his Swedish team HV71. Since that news a couple weeks ago, there had been a lot of speculation about where the 18-year old would play next season. We got the answer Friday morning when the Barrie Colts announced that they had signed Olausson to play with them in the OHL next season.

Olausson was selected in the 2nd round (118th overall) of this year’s CHL Import Draft. He will join 2021 eighth overall pick Brandt Clarke on a Barrie team that has been rebuilding for the past couple of years but that hopes to make a push up the OHL’s Eastern Conference standings this season.

This is a different development path that the Avalanche have had for their top picks over the last number of years. When the organization drafted Mikko Rantanen and Martin Kaut in the first round, they brought both prospects over from Europe and moved them directly into the AHL. A development track that has had a 50% efficiency rate. Many expected the Avalanche to use the same path for Olausson. As it turns out, the 28th overall selection this past July will play at least one season of major junior hockey before making the jump to the professional level.

The decision to send Olausson to Barrie is a littler surprising but not overly shocking considering how many young wingers the Avalanche have competing for top-9 roles with the Eagles at the AHL level next season.

Given his size and experience playing professionally with HV71, Olausson could turn out to be one of the best players in the OHL next season while also playing a big role for Sweden at the World Juniors this December.