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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25: #5 Ben Meyers

Can he stick in the NHL lineup?

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Last season’s most sought-after college free agent, 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year Ben Meyers surprised the hockey world by signing with Colorado rather than a lesser team with a clearer path to NHL ice time. But then, he earned ice time in five games at the end of the regular season and slotted into the bottom-six extremely well, scoring his first NHL goal and generally demonstrating his high motor and positive impact in every part of the ice gives him a clear path to NHL ice time on even a loaded team like the Avalanche.

Meyers spent three years maturing in college after three years in the USHL with the Fargo Force. He grew into a reliable and versatile forward who spent time at every position, played in all situations, and was named team captain as a Junior. He also represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics and IIHF World Championships.

Though Meyers did score over a point per game last season, he hasn’t been known for offense throughout his career and compares more favorably to a forward like Michael Backlund than say, Nicklas Backstrom. Obviously, those two examples are there for the alliteration, but Backlund is an intriguing comparison - at his peak, Backlund centered a defensively dominant and offensively efficient second line in Calgary, doing the dirty work for skilled wingers to fly the zone and score goals.

As a smart, responsible forward with faceoff prowess and moderate offensive upside, Meyers could do that too - he projects a defensive-minded middle-six center who, if he maximizes his talent and is surrounded by skill, could chip in some offense as well. He’ll likely start training camp in competition for the fourth-line center job, but may slide to the wing to gain NHL experience in a more sheltered role.

2022 Top 25 Under 25

#6: Oskar Olausson

#7: Justus Annunen

#8: Sean Behrens

#9: Jean-Luc Foudy

#10: Sampo Ranta

#11: Martin Kaut

#12: Alex Beaucage

#13: Mikhail Maltsev

#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