The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey staff. Five writers have ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2023, in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
Coming into our top 12 for what will be his only appearance in this series is former Western Michigan University captain Jason Polin. The right-winger by trade saw tons of success in his final year in Kalamazoo, leading to his eventual free-agency signing by the club - beating out another Central Division rival for his signature in the Minnesota Wild.
Such success came in the form of producing over a point a game, with 47 points in 39 games, 30 of which came from goals alone. He is still looking for his first professional goal with the Colorado Eagles up in Loveland, as in only seven games he recorded an assist with the most previous entry of this year’s T25U25 series scoring the goal he assisted on.
Regardless, he should be looking for a solid season in Northern Colorado, with the off-chance of a possible call-up to the Avalanche if injuries call for it to make his NHL debut. He will have to make an impression through his goal-scoring abilities and solid forward play which recognized him as a finalist for the Hobey Baker just last season.
Polin's speed along with his size to get him in front of the net and rip shots is crucial for an Avalanche team in particular which struggled last season with getting bodies down low in front of the net. Playing somewhat with a Gabriel Landeskog-esque playstyle, especially as a former captain with such leadership skills could take him a long way. He can still pull off a good dangle to get away from defenders too.
The question the 24-year-old needs to answer is what is his ceiling? He went unsigned and undrafted throughout college, never finding a ton of success until his final two years at Western Michigan. He’s only eclipsed being a 30-goal scorer twice in his career, both in his final years at his USHL side Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and the aforementioned Western Michigan.
Will he bring the success of his final year as a Bronco to the professional leagues and continue to build as a player? Or will he flame out to be somewhere along the lines of Ben Meyers? Polin is only signed to a one-year deal and has a lot to prove in said year to determine his future with the organization. It’s just a matter of how he’ll handle it on the ice.
How do you think Polin will do this season? Does he sneak onto the Avalanche roster sometime during the season? Let us know in the comments below!
2023 Top 25 Under 25
#13 Ondrej Pavel
#14 Alex Beaucage
#15 Sampo Ranta
#16 Taylor Makar
#17 Jeremy Hanzel
#18 Trent Miner
#19 Colby Ambrosio
#21 Matt Stienburg
#22 Chris Romaine
#23 Maros Jedlicka
#24 Andrei Buyalsky
#25: Nikita Ishimnikov