As the chaos continues for the professional rosters in the Avalanche organization, many of those not under contract yet continue to produce at a strong clip. As all leagues around the world now have a significant number of games played we can start taking some of these statistics seriously.
As you may have noticed all but a few Avs contracted players have taken a turn in the NHL at this point
Justus Annunen – G round 3, pick 64, 2018
|Games Played||Wins||Losses||OTW||OTL||Save %||GAA|
One of the very few players on the Eagles who hasn’t been a consideration for a call-up, only because the Avs goalie tandem has been the healthy part of their lineup. Annunen continues to take positive steps in the right direction with solid numbers through the first third of the season. He’s getting an even split with Johansson so far this year and while he still does tend to be a bit streaky, his highs are still very clearly NHL caliber and his lows have been trending towards regular bad instead of catastrophic. If he can keep improving at this pace he represents a very interesting conversation at the end of Pavel Francouz’s two-year deal.
Ivan Zhigalov – G (Kingston Frontenacs) round 7, pick 225, 2022
|Games Played||Wins||Losses||OTW||OTL||Save %||GAA|
Zhigalov is a goalie of extremes. He’s either incredible or disastrous on a game-to-game basis, rarely giving you a middle-of-the-road performance. Somehow this evens out to pretty average numbers. Most if not all junior goalies suffer from a high level of inconsistency but this is impressive. Goalies are weird and the Avs have another year of rights for Zhigalov, for now, it’s wait and see if he can find any consistency at all.
Colby Ambrosio – C (Boston College) round 4, pick 118, 2020
Ambrosio continues to put together a solid if unspectacular year on a… less than good BC team. This season has been significantly more consistent for him getting on the score sheet but it still feels like there could be more to give there. It certainly isn’t a lock yet but with what he’s done so far the Avs will have to consider giving him an NHL deal at the end of this NCAA season.
Sean Behrens – D (Denver) round 2, pick 61, 2021
After a slow start to the season, Behrens has found his groove and is back to being a two-way defensive stud for DU. Maybe more impressive he will be wearing an “A” on his sweater for Team USA at the upcoming World Junior Championship. With how barren the Avs’ defensive pool is, it’s all but guaranteed that Behrens will have a deal in place with the Avs whenever he wants to sign it.
Andrei Buyalsky – C (Vermont) round 3, pick 92, 2021
The good news is Buyalsky is starting to find the score sheet a bit more with 4 assists in his last 5 games. The bad news is his production and particularly his goal-scoring is nowhere near where it needs to be as a 22-year-old in the NCAA. Despite his age, he is still just a sophomore and still has time to work on his game, it will be at least another year before an ELC becomes a consideration and it’s safe to say he has a lot of work to do.
Nicky Leivermann – D (Notre Dame) round 7, pick 187, 2017
Leivermann is fun, which is a big compliment coming from me about a Notre Dame player. Unfortunately, fun does not mean he is a good fit for the Avalanche organization and he is likely still pretty far off from being an NHL player even as a 24-year-old, fifth-year senior. The Eagles D-core is so empty I never want to say never but it’s a tough sell.
Taylor Makar – C (UMASS) round 7, pick 220, 2021
Makar has now solidly established himself as a solid NCAA player with a bit of a scoring touch. Someone with more belief in him than I could even talk themselves into seeing a path to an ELC. A long way to go for him yet, but if he can finish this year strong and takes a step forward in his junior year, who knows?
Matt Stienburg – C (Cornell) round 3, pick 63, 2019
After a very slow start, Steinburg has put up 5 points in his last 6 games, much more what you were hoping for from him after last year. His goal-scoring is still down and he needs to start putting the puck in the net to build the hype back. I still have reservations about his pace of play and skill level at the next level but we all know NHL teams are a sucker for a hard-working physical forward.
Nikolai Kovalenko – RW (Nizhny Novogorod Torpedo) round 6, pick 171, 2018
Kovalenko has now shown sustained dominance at the KHL level. If he doesn’t want to come to NA there is very little left to be said. If he does, at this point it would have to be for a guaranteed NHL job which may tie the Avs’ hands a bit when it comes to flexibility. It would be fun to see him come over and help round out the Avs’ bottom six in the years to come but I have my doubts at this point.
Chris Romaine – D (Omaha Lancers) round 6, pick 193, 2022
Romaine’s season is finally properly up and running and we’ve seen a few offensive contributions trickling in. The USHL is not a league known for its defensive scoring and his defense seems to be trending in the right direction as he gets settled into the league. Still in it for the long haul here before we find out what he is as a prospect.