The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey staff. Eight writers have ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 1, 2022 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of value to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
Matthew Stienburg was taken by the Colorado Avalanche with their first pick of the third round in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Avalanche used the Ottawa Senators’ pick at 63rd overall to select the young man from Halifax, NS who also happens to be the son of former Quebec Nordique Trevor Stienburg. That third-rounder was the last piece in return from a franchise elevating trade involving Matt Duchene. How can Stienburg add to Colorado’s already stellar return from that deal?
Stienburg has spent a couple of seasons playing for Cornell University in the NCAA. This path to the bigs seems more common now that Cale Makar has shown just how valuable development in NCAA can become. It’s not a foolproof system. The player still has to put in the work.
Big 5-2 win for @sachockey over Salisbury at the MacPherson Tourney tonight. Number 27, the RW in white is Matthew Steinburg who you’ve heard me talk about on the 31 pod & HC12. Really like him. Skilled, great hands and plays with snarl. pic.twitter.com/X8SJputYLM— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) January 26, 2019
It seems like Stienburg is doing just that. His sophomore season was abruptly interrupted by a global pandemic which likely delayed his development slightly. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t performed during his time as a Big Red Bear. He was a point-per-game player last season through twenty-nine games in a season that ended with Cornell losing in the ECAC Quarterfinals to Colgate in a three-game series. Stienburg logged three points on two goals and one assist, including the game-winning goal in game one.
CORNELL WINS— Cornell Daily Sun Sports (@DailySunSports) November 20, 2021
Matt Stienburg scores 58 seconds into overtime to secure a 3-2 victory for the Red over Ivy League and ECAC rival Brown. pic.twitter.com/husqGI0d7Y
I think based on his unorthodox time in the NCAA, Matthew Stienburg will likely play his senior season for Cornell University in the 2022-23 season. There is no sense in rushing a player during this time in Colorado. The Avalanche are in win-now mode and should be in no hurry to promote prospects that will benefit from developing elsewhere. It is possible Stienburg elects to turn pro, sign his Entry Level Contract and finish the year with the Colorado Eagles in the spring at the conclusion of his season at Cornell. Then there should be a clearer idea on the timeline to the NHL for this throwback hard-nosed forward.
2022 Top 25 Under 25
#19: Nikolai Kovalenko
#20 Trent Miner
#21: Keaton Middleton
#21: Wyatt Aamodt
#23: Taylor Makar
#24: Nathan Clurman
#25: Ivan Zhigalov