A pause in examination of the Avalanche’s 2018 draft class to look at a recent undrafted college free agent signing who will add depth to the organization.
As he just turned 22 years of age, Logan O’Connor was born on August 14, 1996 in Missouri City, Texas but grew up in Calgary, Alberta. He was a bit of a late bloomer but currently he stands at six foot and 179 lbs and is a right shot who has played center and right wing. O’Connor joins an increasingly popular niche of Canadian NCAA players the Avalanche are collecting including current Canadian college student athletes Cale Makar, Shane Bowers and Cam Morrison plus the other recent undrafted college free agent signee Josh Dickinson just to name a few.
The hockey pedigree is present in O’Connor as he is the son of former NHL defenseman Myles O’Connor who was a third round pick by the New Jersey Devils in 1985. Myles’ NHL career lasted 43 games with New Jersey and the Anaheim Ducks in which he scored seven points total but he enjoyed a lengthy professional career spanning nearly 400 games in the IHL and AHL. Logan was born in Texas when his father played for the Houston Aeros.
O’Connor has played in the United States for quite some time as he first joined the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede beginning in 2013 for two seasons before moving on to his collegiate career. There O’Connor would win the Clark Cup with the Stampede in his second season and he was also co-captain for that championship squad. That season was successful for him from a production standpoint as well as he posted 36 points including 16 goals in 58 games, which was a healthy increase from 10 points in his first year with the Stampede.
Logan O’Connor needs to apologize after doing that 😱 pic.twitter.com/BSPNhCah1b
— Denver Hockey (@DU_Hockey) December 31, 2017
Starting at the University of Denver in 2015, O’Connor worked up through the ranks after only appearing in 23 games and scoring four points his freshman year. His sophomore season would see greater impact with 18 points in 44 games en route to winning a NCAA national championship. O’Connor increased his production a bit more his junior year to 21 points in 41 games (as seen above) and was named captain heading into his senior season this fall at DU.
This summer was O’Connor’s first invitation to an NHL development camp. He gained exposure in college to get his game noticed and with the Avalanche in such close proximity to DU no doubt was helpful in getting that opportunity. At camp O’Connor didn’t stand out much in the drills portion of the practices but made a name for himself in the 3-on-3 scrimmage as he scored a hat trick (one of those goals as seen below) and added a shootout goal for good measure. As one of the older players in development camp it would make sense he showed his maturity in game situation but the unexpected offensive flair obviously made an impression on the Avalanche front office.
— Aaron Goldschmidt (@lateinthegoldie) July 2, 2018
O’Connor explains in an interview with Magness Mayhem that the Avalanche notified him of their interest after development camp, that they would monitor his senior year at DU and look to get him in some pro games at the end of the season. Suddenly on July 19th the Avalanche contacted his advisor and offered O’Connor a two-year Entry Level Contract, which he accepted a couple days later. It is still unknown what made the Avalanche front office decide to change their mind and move so quickly to get O’Connor signed and part of the organization for the upcoming season but perhaps the answer will reveal itself in training camp.
As a right shot forward O’Connor fits an organizational need for the Avalanche. His best asset is his speed and he uses it ferociously on the forecheck plus those attributes helped him become an excellent penalty killer. He has the hands to make plays on occasion as was seen in camp but O’Connor will be counted on for his defense, penalty kill and leadership abilities moving forward. He should be a nice depth player for the AHL Colorado Eagles or even possibly the ECHL Utah Grizzlies but will probably earn Eagles’ head coach Greg Cronin’s trust quickly and solidify himself a spot in the lineup. As far as NHL aspirations, that’s up to how the Avalanche want to develop and utilize defensive depth players but O’Connor should certainly be in the mix.