It’s just a little under 2 weeks until the 2016 Entry Draft and with that it’s a good time to look at the Colorado Avalanche’s 10 best prospects currently. To keep in mind, this list is completely subjective and this list could vary from person to person.
So let’s take a look at the Avs’ best prospects, a prospect pool that so many claim to be poor and shallow.
# 10: Sergei Boikov, D
Drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 Draft as an over ager, Sergei Boikov signed his Entry Level Contract (ELC) in late May after playing 4 games for Avs’ AHL affiliate San Antonio Rampage where he is expected to compete for a top 4 role at the beginning of next season. Boikov stands at 6’2 and weighs about 195 lbs. In 52 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, Boikov registered 6 goals and 26 points. Boikov also won a Silver medal with Russia at the World Junior Championships in January. Boikov is known more for his defensive game although he has shown some offensive upside. Though he’s not the biggest guy, he will grow into his 6’2 frame which will add to his mean style of play.
# 9: Duncan Siemens, D
The oldest prospect on the list. Duncan Siemens was the Avs second 1st round pick in 2011, selected 11th overall and taken 9 slots after selecting now-captain Gabriel Landeskog. For the most part many consider Duncan Siemens a bust, however it’s universal knowledge that defensemen take longer to develop than forwards. Siemens doesn’t turn 23 until September so he’s still fairly young. Unfortunately, Avs’ patience seem to be running thin with the former 1st rounder as he’s not developing as quick as they would like. The number one thing that Avs management don’t like is that Siemens’ offensive game isn’t developing. In his previous 3 seasons in the minors, Siemens as gone from 4 points to 6 points to 7 points. However, his defensive game ain’t too shabby though it will have to improve if he wants to make it to the big league. Weighing in at 200 lbs and standing 6’3, Siemens is big and sturdy. Siemens’ ELC expires and the big question is will the Avs offer him a new contract. My hope is yes. But patience is running extremely thin.
# 8: Spencer Martin, G
The only goaltender on the list. Selected in the 3rd round of the 2013 Draft, Spencer Martin has completed his year of pro hockey this season. He spent time between the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. He played 20 games in the ECHL with mediocre results but he put up solid numbers in the AHL. In 18 games with the Rampage, Martin posted a 7-7-1 record wth a .921 save percentage and 2.65 GAA. On not a very good Rampage team that is impressive. Martin is expected to see more playing time next season for the Rampage. There’s lot to like and to get excited about. The kid has talent.
# 7: Mason Geertsen, D
Drafted 93rd overall in the 4th round at the 2013 Draft, the 6’4 212 pound blueliner split his first full year of pro hockey between the Rampage of the AHL and the Komets of the ECHL. In 42 games with the Rampage Geertsen registered 8 assists in limited playing time. In 21 games with Komets Geertsen registered a goal and 4 points. His first pro season can be seen as a little bit of a let down but that is because of the clog of d-men in the minors. His limited offensive production can also be attributed to limited ice time.But also because Geertsen is known for being a gritty physical shutdown d-man. He never showed much of an offensive upside until his last year in juniors where he was named best d-man on his team, the Vancouver Giants. Geertsen still has to round out his game and he might take a little longer to develop but the potential is there
# 6: A.J. Greer, LW
The Avs acquired the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft in the Ryan O’Reilly blockbuster from the Buffalo Sabres. The Avs then traded the pick for the 39th overall pick in the same draft as well as additional 2nd and 6th round picks. And with the 39th overall pick, the Avs selected A.J. Greer, the 6’3 205 pound power-forward left winger out of Boston Univeristy. In the 2015-16 campaign, Greer made the decision to leave Boston University after seeing limited time with a limited role. He left for the QMJHL, whose Rouyn-Noranda Huskies owned his rights. Though he had a bit of a slow start for the QMJHL powerhouse, Greer size and grit eventually began to take over. In the regular season for the Huskies, Greer scored 16 goals and 27 points in 33 games. In the playoffs, Greer scored 12 goals and 22 points in 20 games on their way to winning the QMJHL championship and advancing to the Memorial Cup tournament. In 5 games in the Memorial Cup, Greer scored 1 goal and added a helper. The Huskies fell in the Memorial Cup final, losing a heart breaker in overtime to the London Knights. The Avs have a decision to make on Greer: i) have him play for the Rampage next season and get an extra year on his ELC or ii) have him play another year in junior.
# 5: Nicholas Meloche, D
Selected one spot after A.J. Greer in the 2015 draft, Nicholas Meloche is a 6’2, 197 pound two-way d-man. Drafted by the Avs when he was 17 years old, Meloche split the 2015-16 campaign with two teams in the QMJHL. In 25 games with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, he scored 8 goals and 16 points. He was then traded to the Gatineau Olympiques where he scored 5 goals and 17 points in 28 games. Meloche is smart in his own zone and can play a shutdown role. He’s also very capable of making plays and producing points. It’s still gonna be awhile until Meloche is seen in an Avs uniform but it’s very clear that the Avs got a very good player with the 40th overall selection. Meloche will return to the QMJHL in the fall.
# 4: Jean-Christophe Beaudin, RW
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies were a team many Avs fans kept their eyes on as they stormed their way to the Memorial Cup. The Huskies had 3 Avs prospects on their team. Of course A.J. Greer, as well as Julien Nantel (Avs signed him to an ELC earlier in 2016) and J.C. Beaudin. Beaudin was selected in the 3rd round, 71st overall in the 2015 draft. The 6’1, 190 pound winger was a force in the Q this year. Beaudin scored 33 goals and 82 points in the 58 games during the regular season and added 7 goals and 19 points in 17 games during the playoffs. Unfortunately an injury during the playoffs hampered his playing time and production during the Memorial Cup tournament. Beaudin had 53 points in 68 games for the Huskies in 2014-15 season and 82 points in 58 games in 2015-16. He will be in the Q in the fall and is sure to produce a lot of points next season.
# 3: J.T.Compher, C
Though at the time it didn’t seem like much at all, J.T. Compher has almost become the cornerstone of the trade that saw the Avalanche send prized forward Ryan O’Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres at the 2015 Draft. Compher was selected by the Sabres in the 2nd round 35th overall at the 2013 Draft. Compher had himself one hell of 2015-16 campaign, centering the powerhouse CCM line along side Kyle Connor and Tyler Motte for the University of Michigan Wolverines. Compher, who captained the Wolverines, scored 16 goals and 63 points in just 38 games. Michigan Wolverines eventually lost to the eventual NCAA champs North Dakota in the regional finals. There were some worried Avs fans when there was some speculation on whether Compher would return to Michigan for his senior year (as he would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent afterwards had he not been signed) but that was put to rest as the Avs signed Compher to an ELC. Compher stands 5’11 and weighs around 195 pounds. Though he’s not the biggest forward, he plays a big man’s game. Good on face-offs, great two-way game with high IQ, J.T. Compher could be the Avs 3rd line center for many many years to come. Compher will be competing for a spot on the Avs’ opening night roster come September.
# 2: Chris Bigras, D
Drafted in the second round 32nd overall in the 2013 Draft, Chris Bigras has an extremely bright future in Colorado. Bigras split the 2015-16 campaign between the San Antonio Rampage and the Colorado Avalanche. Bigras played 37 games for the Rampage where he registered 6 goals and 19 points and had a +/- of a +2. After impressing in San Antonio, he was recalled by the Colorado Avalanche. And in Colorado he would remain for the rest of the season. Though he only registered 1 goal and 3 points in 31 games, he was nothing short of impressive in his stint with the Avs. Bigras played with maturity and a high IQ, something that was largely absent with most of the Avs blueline. As with most young d-men, there were some hiccups along the way but the talent is there. The 21 year old d-man will be a top 4, maybe even a top pairing d-man for many years in the NHL. It’s still up in the air where he will start the year in the fall but he’ll definitely compete for a spot opening night. Bigras is a 6’1, 190 pound smart, two-way smooth skating d-man that can be a shutdown guy as well as an offensive contributor.
# 1: Mikko Rantanen, RW
The Colorado Avalanche’s #1 prospect is without a doubt Mikko Rantanen.Rantanen was selected 10th overall in the 2015 draft. The 6’4, 215 pound power forward was nothing short of spectacular in the 2015-16 campaign. He started the year with Avs before being sent down to the San Antonio Rampage. And it was there, where he set the AHL on fire and obliterating Rampage rookie records. In 52 games with the Rampage, Rantanen scored 24 goals and 60 points and was a +20. Rantanen also shared AHL rookie of the year honors. Along the way Rantanen captained Finland to a gold medal at the World Juniors. Before the end of the year Rantanen was recalled by the Avs for 3 games, centering the 4th line. In total, he played 9 games with the Avs and failed to register a point in limited minutes. Rantanen is expected to be on the opening night roster for the Avs come October.
Just Missed The Cut: Julien Nantel (LW), Andrei Mironov (D), Will Butcher (D), Anton Lindholm (D).