First Look: Alex Newhook

This is the seventh in a series of in-depth profiles covering each member of the Colorado Avalanche 2019 draft class. The entire series can be found HERE.

With their second first round pick at 16th overall in the 2019 draft the Colorado Avalanche selected Alex Newhook. The 5-foot-10.5 and 190 lbs left shot center adds a punch of high-end skill in a lightning quick body. The Avalanche were lucky to have Newhook available to them as he was expected to go closer to the top ten. Both NHL Central Scouting North American skaters and TSN Bob McKenzie’s survey of scouts had Newhook ranked at 13.

Quite easily Newhook has the most intriguing offensive upside in the Avalanche system. He is the type of player that hasn’t been in the pipeline in some time and projects as a high skill top six forward who could play at either center or wing with a variety of linemates. Newhook bases his game off his swift skating but also has a creative vision and hockey sense for playmaking plus his hands and shot give him options to attack in various ways.

Newhook is on the NCAA path and will begin at Boston College for the 2019-20 season. He will be joined by his sister Abby who is a very talented player in her own right in the 2021-22 season if he’s not in the NHL by then. Newhook adds to a massive Avalanche prospect collection of NCAA developed players as well as to a growing group of players from Atlantic Canada and in many cases they belong to both cohorts such as with Shane Bowers and Matt Stienburg.

Hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland Newhook realized at an early age that he would need to depart his hometown to find a higher competition level and his first stop across Canada was prep school St. Andrews College in Ontario. There he began in 2015 when he was 14 years old and continued for two seasons. Fellow 2019 Avalanche draftee Stienburg also attended the school though they were never teammates at the same time.

Despite selection at 41st in the 2017 QMJHL draft by the Halifax Mooseheads and an opportunity to participate in the 2019 Memorial Cup Newhook chose to keep his collegiate options open and commitment to Boston College. Partly due to family connections in the area he headed to the opposite coast to Victoria, B.C. and the BCHL to play at the junior A level beginning in 2017.

In his first season with the Victoria Grizzlies Newhook won the BCHL rookie of the year honors and was named a first team all-star after scoring 66 points with 22 goals in 48 games. In addition he was awarded the CJHL (which currently comprises 10 Junior A leagues with 132 total teams) rookie of the year which has also has been given to Cam Morrison, Tyson Jost and Cale Makar.

Newhook followed his strong rookie year up with an even more impressive performance in the 2018-19 season with 102 points including 38 goals in 53 contests, which was the first 100 point season in the BCHL in three years when Jost and two others cracked the century mark. Newhook didn’t stop there as in the playoffs he added another 15 points in 24 games. After this stellar season Newhook was again named a first team all-star but was also given the BCHL MVP and top scorer award. The trophies didn’t stop there as Newhook was awarded the all-encompassing CJHL MVP award which has also previously gone to Jost and Makar.

One of the big headlines last summer was the exclusion of Newhook from Canada’s team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The event serves as the official kick-off to the draft season with all top prospects participating it was disappointing for Newhook to miss out measuring up against his peers in high level competition but his game was just not quite ready. He was able to take to the international stage that winter in the World Junior A Challenge for Canada West where he posted four points in six games and started looking more comfortable at the showcase type event and also won a bronze medal for his efforts.

Finally Newhook had his coming out party at the spring Under-18 World Junior tournament where he played on the top line with Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs and put up 10 points with five goals including one seen above in seven games. Newhook was able to put his dynamic skill together and was consistently dangerous. He ended with a fifth place tie in tournament scoring and a team first place tie along with Krebs. Newhook was also named one of Canada’s top three players by his coaches.

At Avalanche development camp Newhook flashed his high skill level and swift skating ability which was no more evident than in the 3-on-3 where he made several flashy plays and a highlight reel attempt in the shootout which was waived off. Newhook needs to get his hand, feet and brain all in concert together to execute plays with consistency at the next level and when he does he will be able to do special things with the puck.

The final stop on Newhook’s whirlwind year was at the World Junior Summer Showcase which was yet another jump up in competition to get his first taste of the U-20 level. As always Newhook flashed his talent and was able to use his speed on several breakaways but was often thwarted by older and stronger players. It looks like he is on the bubble for this year’s Canada squad but the good news he has two years of eligibility and should be a strong option for the team in 2021.

I’ll stay [in school] as long as I need to and hopefully step right in [to the NHL] from there.”

As Newhook stated himself above to NHL.com, the hopeful path is right from Boston College to the Avalanche. It is possible that could happen in a year but jumps up in level have been an adjustment for Newhook and leaving college for the AHL doesn’t seem to be in the cards or a great idea. A two year trajectory might make more sense as Newhook has the skill to make an impact sooner than later but needs that time to refine his game particularly defensively. With his talent level Newhook could take big steps quickly and find himself on the fast track.

And finally, a shift by shift compilation courtesy of Rudo3

queenjk

Aka tigervixxxen, prospect junkie.

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