The Top 25 Under 25 is a Mile High Hockey staff collaboration. Five writers have ranked players under 25 as of July 1, 2023, in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
Gianni Fairbrother comes in at our 20th spot despite his recent bout with a knee injury. The 22-year-old out of Vancouver, BC is now an Avalanche as a result of the Alex Newhook trade that went down back in June of this year. He has spent most of his time in the WHL and AHL and signed his entry-level deal with Montreal in 2021. He will likely do the same in Colorado for the Eagles as the third year of the ELC expires.
TRADE: We have acquired a first-round selection (31st overall, previously acquired) and a second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft, along with defenseman Gianni Fairbrother, from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Alex Newhook.#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/5upTYZ9MMZ— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 27, 2023
This will certainly be a show-me year for a young man that the Habs were pretty high on draft day when they selected him at 77th overall in 2019. He’s not the kind of defender that populates the stat sheet but not all of them are. This left-handed shot defenseman has made his way by showing a physicality that can be eye-popping at times. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Montreal selected this young man. That said, his playstyle is almost perfect for the more rugged game in the AHL and likely won’t translate too effectively with the high-flying, transitional play of the Avalanche blue line.
As previously mentioned, I expect Fairbrother to spend most of his time in the AHL but with that said, we are all too familiar with how injury issues can thrust some guys from the A into the majors. If that happens with Fairbrother, the Avalanche will likely be facing a considerable amount of man-games lost on their blue line. That’s not to say he can’t earn another contract here in Colorado by performing with the Eagles.
Let us know what you think of this prospect in the comments!