It’s been an interesting year for the Colorado Avalanche prospect system as the reserve list and prospects on Entry Level Contract continues to shrink. A few college free agents have been signed but are beyond the prospect age cutoff of under 23 years of age. A five-pick draft class with two first round selections has helped the top end but the depth of the system falls off quickly as the list is still truncated with only 16 players eligible for ranking.
Several on the list last year are no longer because they have been traded such as Martin Kaut, then Danila Zhuravlyov had his rights relinquished when he returned to Russia and Sampo Ranta is past the age cutoff. No graduations.
A note about Nikolai Kovalenko, he will not be included on this list as he is 23 years of age and is not considered a prospect by definition. If forced to rank, I’d give him strong consideration at third due to his NHL readiness and likely commitment from the organization to play him in the NHL. His game is super fun too.
A fair amount of weight is also given to those who have a NHL contract because that is a massive hurdle to climb with the front office giving out few Entry Level Contracts which is an obvious necessity to playing in and impacting the NHL.
1 C Calum Ritchie (NEW)
A new top prospect for the Avalanche with the size, skill set snd upside to become a top six center.
2 LD Mikhail Gulyayev (NEW)
Not far behind is this unique and tantalizing defenseman who will stay in Russia for a few more years before hopefully the Avalanche find use for him.
3 RW Jean-Luc Foudy (+1)
A nice NHL debut followed a strong AHL season but the transition to a job in the big leagues needs to begin now.
4 LW Oskar Olausson (-3)
Still young but the clock is ticking to become an impact player in the AHL and start making a move up the depth chart.
5 LD Sean Behrens (-3)
After a solid NCAA career Behrens should sign with the Avalanche this spring and show what he can do at the pro level.
6 RW Alex Beaucage (+2)
This is where having a NHL contract matters and Beaucage has shown flashes of offense in the AHL.
7 C Matt Stienburg (+3)
After a bunch of drama Stienburg is finally signed and could find some familial organizational favor to get a look in the NHL.
8 G Trent Miner (+1)
A goalie with a contract for the time being and has had a few promising moments in the AHL.
9 RD Jeremy Hanzel (NEW)
The most interesting non-first rounder of the 2023 draft class but do the Avalanche have a plan for this overager who made an impression at the Memorial Cup?
10 LW Maros Jedlicka (NEW)
He’s scheduled to report for rookie camp and hopes to find a job in the AHL this season. Jedlicka has an intriguing skill set with pro experience in Slovakia.
11 C Taylor Makar (+1)
Some maturity and development camp hype has pushed the younger Makar up the list and nepotism will always be in his favor.
12 C Colby Ambrosio (-5)
Always a fun player at Boston College but he’s going back for his senior year, can he earn a contract or is it too late?
13 C Andrei Buyalsky (–)
A more encouraging sophomore season for Buyalsky but he still needs to continue producing enough to earn a pro contract.
14 G Ivan Zhigalov (+1)
Zhiggy is a fun and active goaltender with a sparking personality but is not likely to go much further with the organization.
15 RD Chris Romaine (-1)
Hopefully Romaine will begin his NCAA career this season and add some polish to his game.
16 RD Nikita Ishimnikov (NEW)
A long road ahead for the big Russian with a raw skill set.