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.
People forget what a successful hockey career Ben Meyers has had to this point. The Delano, Minnesota native has succeeded at every level of hockey he has played. As of the publishing of this article, some of Meyers’ standout achievements include putting up a 3.96 ppg season with his local high school. He was named to the All-Star squads in the USHL and NCAA, leading the University of Minnesota to a BIG Ten Championship, being named captain of said University of Minnesota team, being named to the US Olympic and World Championship Team in 2022, and signing an NHL contract with the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche. Accomplishing all this by the age of 25 is quite ludicrous. What’s even more ludicrous is he has all the opportunity to add even more to this list.
Ben Meyers was a standout player wherever he played in juniors and college. Meyers put up video game numbers for Delano High in his high school years, including the aforementioned season where he put up 46 goals and 53 assists in just 25 games. From there he was a near-point-per-game player with the Fargo Force of the USHL, earning a second-team All-Star nod for his play. Meyers stayed up north and returned to his home state to play for one of, if not the, most iconic universities for collegiate hockey, the University of Minnesota.
As a Golden Gopher Meyers fit in from the jump. During his freshmen year, he potted 10 goals and added on 16 helpers for 26 points in 37 games. This impressive inaugural season added another achievement to his repertoire after his named to the BIG Ten All-Freshmen team. Meyers’ sophomore season was even more impressive. He was named as an alternate captain for Minnesota and finished the season with two more points than his previous season in six fewer games. Another impressive season garnered him more recognition as he finished the season named an Honorable Mention for the All-BIG Ten team.
Ben Meyers puts Minnesota up 2-0. The undrafted junior will be one of the most sought after NCAA free agents this spring. pic.twitter.com/8k1dFSbwhg— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) January 8, 2022
In his Junior year, Meyers had a season for the ages. After being promoted to co-Captain of the Golden Gophers, Meyers registered 41 points in 34 games, 17 of which were goals. Amid the season Meyers’ was named to the US Olympic Team where he put up four points in four games for his country. The stellar play didn’t stop for Meyers in the regular season. In the NCAA Tournament, Meyers led his squad to their highest tournament finish since the 2013-14 season with four points in three games en route to a semi-finals appearance. A season like that got him a plethora of honors. After his standout junior year, Meyers was a unanimous selection to the All-BIG Ten team, the BIG Ten Player of the Year, a Second Team All-American, and Minnesota’s first Hobey Baker nominated player since 2002. It was after the stellar season that 23-year-old Meyers signed a professional contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
It seems to elude people how fresh Meyers’ Avalanche career is. The 24 (soon to be 25) year old has only played 43 games in burgundy and blue. He started his Avalanche career with a bang, scoring in his first NHL game to help the Avalanche simultaneously clinch the first seed in the Western Conference and Central Division. In the 2021-22 season, Meyers played only four more games with the organization and was ineligible to play with the Avalanche in the postseason, since his contract was signed after the deadline to make him available.
While the Avalanche were on their way to a Stanley Cup victory, Meyers tallied four goals and eight points in ten games in his second stint with the US National Team, this time at the World Championships. Expectations were high for Meyers going into his true rookie season. Unfortunately, Meyers had issues staying in the lineup, due to health and recalls to the AHL to help him develop better. With the Colorado Eagles Meyers was, again, impressive. He put up 24 points in 30 games during his time in Loveland. That success didn’t quite translate in his 39 regular season games with the Avalanche, which saw him only tally four points, all goals. Meyers was trusted enough to play six playoff games with the Avalanche, however, Meyers was unable to show up on the scoresheet in any of the six games.
Despite the low note Ben Meyers ended the season on, there’s plenty to look forward to for our tenth-rated prospect. Looking at the numbers Meyers had some solid underlying numbers, hovering around 50 percent in the major categories (Corsi, scoring chances, high danger chances, and expected goal share). His expected goals for a rate of 55.5 percent is especially encouraging as a show that Meyers can win the majority of his matchups and produce quality opportunities. Meyers also potted four goals in 39 games for the Avalanche in the 2022-23 season.
It may not seem to be that impressive of a number but when you extrapolate that to an 82-game pace, it comes out to about 8 goals, a more than acceptable number for a rookie fourth-liner. There are also a few factors that play into Meyers, especially the low-point tally. The biggest one is his time on ice. Meyers finished the season with an average of 9:35 ice time per game, the third lowest of any Av to play more than 30 games with the team, behind only Kurtis MacDermid and Jacob MacDonald. This lack of time on ice gives him less opportunity to make an impact on the game. Not only did Meyers not get much time on ice per game, but he also missed decent chunks of games at a time for the aforementioned reasons (injuries, AHL).
Meyers's teammates played a large role in his lack of scoring too. Meyers finished the season with the lowest PDO of any Av with more than 30 GP at .972, the next closest Av fitting the criteria was Sam Girard with a PDO of .982. Having a PDO that far under 1.000 while putting up an expected goals share of 55.5% percent is a show that Meyers was not getting much luck, or help from his teammates.
As a player, Ben Meyers fits the Avalanche bottom six mold to a T. He’s small, fast, and tenacious. One thing Meyers has a leg up on his fellow bottom-sixers is his skill. He’s proven at every level he’s played that he can get the puck in the net either by himself or via his teammates. The second part was something he struggled with this season, as shown above. He has shown flashes of skill at the NHL level, but given his role, has stuck to more of a cycle and grind it out game. Something he is also proficient at. That leads me to Ben Meyers’ greatest attribute, his IQ. Yet another part of the mold he fits. Meyers is one of the smarter players on the ice when he plays. His smarts are a big reason Colorado signed him and played him. His ability to play multiple styles is a testament to said smarts. Having the IQ and physical skills he has is a great foundation for him to continue to build on. He will need his skills and playmaking to shine through more if he wants to be a consistent member of the Avs, though.
Barring a trade, there’s a good chance we’ll see a lot more of Ben Meyers in an Avalanche sweater, considering he just signed a one-way deal with the Avalanche and is a restricted free agent next year. With Meyers receiving a one-way deal, it is likely the Avalanche want to try him in their open fourth-line center slot for the time being. It’s a big chance for him to prove himself as an NHL regular for them. Ben Meyers can really cement himself in the team’s plans with a good showing in the 2023-24 season.
2023 Top 25 Under 25
#11 Sam Malinksi
#12 Jason Polin
#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