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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25: #13 Mikhail Maltsev

Can Maltsev stick with the Avalanche this coming year?

Buffalo Sabres v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

After a year playing for the Colorado Avalanche, Mikhail Maltsev hasn’t quite filled the fourth line role it was hoped he would. He skated in 18 games at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, but failed to score a goal or contribute with an assist. He’s been a solid presence for the Colorado Eagles, contributing 48 points in 56 games, as well as six points (four goals and two assists) in the playoffs.

Maltsev is a versatile left shot forward who can play center or on the wing and can take on a grinder type role or play a much more skilled game where he’s produced some impressive highlights on a few memorable goals. Maltsev actually led the Avalanche in face-off win percentage at 57.9% with 76 draws taken in those 18 games, which is another tool he brings to the table.

He has the chance to earn a spot on the roster, but he’s going to have to prove that his lack of production last season won’t continue. Realistically, he doesn’t have to put up the kind of numbers that players on the top two lines do, but he does have to demonstrate that he’s worth picking over other young players to fill that spot. He will face tough competition though, as players like Ben Meyers, who joined the team last season but couldn’t play in the playoffs, will also be looking for a spot on the starting roster. Along with Sampo Ranta and Martin Kaut, Maltsev has some NHL experience under his belt. He knows what’s expected of him, and after signing a year’s extension on his contract, perhaps he will find a place where he fits.

Given the competitiveness of this team, it’s likely he’ll split his time between the Avalanche and the Eagles but will have to clear waivers to do so. It’s highly possible he won’t make the roster right out of training camp, but he could get called up when the need arises. At 24, this is realistically the last chance he has to crack the team. He could make a consistent minor league player, but if he wants more NHL experience and a chance to play, he’s going to have to find it this season with the Avalanche or look elsewhere.

2022 Top 25 Under 25

#14: Shane Bowers

#15: Colby Ambrosio

#16: Danila Zhuravlyov

#17: Andrei Buyalsky

#18: Matthew Steinburg

#19: Nikolai Kovalenko

#20 Trent Miner

#21: Keaton Middleton

#21: Wyatt Aamodt

#23: Taylor Makar

#24: Nathan Clurman

#25: Ivan Zhigalov