The newest member of the Colorado Avalanche prospect pipeline is undrafted NCAA free agent Josh Dickinson. He is a late 1997 born 20 year-old center out of Clarkson University who stands at 6’2 and 190 lbs. The left shot centerman was inked to a three year Entry Level Contract to begin in the 2018-19 season. Some might find the name familiar as his brother Jason Dickinson is a former first round pick currently in the Dallas Stars system.
This signing came as a total surprise as Dickinson had not been rumored or on the radar at all, even from a national perspective. Interesting that the offer from the Avalanche was enticing enough to leave school and his scholarship behind after only his freshman year. Dickinson is another in a growing collection of Canadian NCAA players the Avalanche have brought into their system in recent years joining Cale Makar, Tyson Jost, Alexander Kerfoot and Shane Bowers among others.
Dickinson played for his hometown Georgetown Raiders in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (Junior A) for three years with a high of 66 points including 25 goals in 53 points in his final season and was part of the OJHL championship winning squad. While he was drafted into the OHL by Sudbury, Dickinson did not follow in his brother’s path to play in the league and instead kept his collegiate options open.
In his freshman and only season at Clarkson University, Dickinson scored 15 goals and 26 points in 40 games. Those 15 goals were good for second on the team in goal scoring and tied for fourth in the nation for freshmen. Another aspect of Dickinson’s game where he excelled in was the faceoff dot, winning 53.8% of the 520 draws he took. Clarkson enjoyed a very successful season with a 23-11-6 record and was eliminated in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in a 1-0 shutout to Providence.
After signing his ELC with the Avalanche, Dickinson had enough time to get his first taste of professional hockey with the San Antonio Rampage in their final five games of the AHL season. Below is a shift by shift video (thanks to Rudo3) of his third game in which Dickinson registered his first pro point on a quick behind the net tap pass to set up San Antonio’s second goal in a 6-2 loss to Grand Rapids. Dickinson finished off the season with two points in those five games including getting to face off (literally!) against his brother in the final two game set against the Texas Stars. HERE he speaks about that meeting and briefly about signing with the Avalanche.
During this quick prelude to beginning his professional career, Dickinson flashed some of the elements which no doubt led the Avalanche to offer the contract. He’s not a flashy or overly dynamic offensive player but Dickinson showed good puck skill plus a smart and dangerous nose for the net with the puck on his stick. His two AHL assists were both quick plays from behind the net. He was positioned at center and gives a glimpse into the organizational plan to develop him there. If the Avalanche want to develop youth at center then Dickinson should be a top AHL option in that position and look for a third line, possibly a middle six role in the NHL.
To get down to brass tacks and the short term expectation for Dickinson is this. Keep in mind he’s a 20 year-old entering his first pro season in the fall, he’s roughly in the same place as Ty Lewis and Travis Barron, less like older NCAA signings Dominic Toninato and Kerfoot who were ready to push for NHL jobs in training camp. Although he does have one year of NCAA experience under his belt, Dickinson is also one year removed from his junior A career. A year of time in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles will hopefully position Dickinson for a look at the NHL level sooner than later.