According to Avs head coach Jared Bednar, the answer is yes.
Or…they’re not ruling it out, at least.
Since the second Alex Newhook turned pro and signed his entry-level contract with Colorado on March 31, fans, media and pundits alike began chomping at the bit, wondering when the Avs exciting young top-forward prospect could step into the NHL lineup.
Newhook is just five games into his pro career with the Colorado Eagles, and so far, so good for the former first-round pick, who has tallied three goals and five points in his last four games, and is already playing top power-play time.
“The thing that stands out about him is his speed. He’s tenacious on pucks, always pushing the pace of the play, and obviously he’s got great hands, great shot, especially for such a young kid,” Eagles teammate Conor Timmins said on Tuesday. “He’s gonna be a great player.”
And, naturally, with the Avalanche suffering another late-season rash of injuries, the questions are already being asked whether this Alex Newhook kid could be a call-up option for the Avs here soon.
“We’ll take a look,” coach Bednar said when asked about it on Tuesday afternoon. “I know Newhook is playing well; we’re getting some good reviews out of him there. So we’ll see if he’s an option.”
Now, before you get excited, Avalanche fan, Bednar dropped some knowledge today about the quarantine rules and how they “really hamper the ability to move players up and down.”
AHL teams fly commercial—with the general public—and aren’t chartered on their own team planes like their NHL brethren. Because of this, there is a rule in place that call-ups must wait seven days post-commercial flight before they can be called up to the taxi squad or to the NHL roster.
And with the Eagles flying home from Tucson this past Sunday, that means a guy like Alex Newhook wouldn’t even be an option for the Avs to call up until this upcoming Sunday or Monday.
It’s also wholly dependent on who on the Avalanche roster is healthy or not.
From the sounds of it during Tuesday’s media availability, Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi, who both recently came off the NHL’s COVID protocol list, could return in time for the Avs’ two-game home set against San Jose this weekend.
And if that is the case, would the Avalanche even need Newhook to step in? Probably not.
“We’ll see who’s healthy Friday when we get back to town; we’ll see who’s available to be called up after their commercial flights,” Bednar said, before adding, “if there are guys who we think can help us, then we’ll get them up.”
Bednar wants to be clear about one thing, though, before you get your hopes up.
“We’re in win-now mode…We’re not looking to get guys experience and build them up for next year or three years from now. We’re trying to win a Cup,” he said Tuesday.
Alex Newhook can—and certainly will—help the Avalanche…at some point. And it’s very likely he earns a spot in the Avs middle-six next season. But is now the right time to push for an NHL job?
“If those guys are playing well down there and we can get them on the taxi squad in a timely fashion and it works for both schedules and we feel like they can help us right now, then we’ll get them here.
“It’s a big step from college and juniors to the American League, and if they can do what they need to do at the American League, then it’s another big step to come up here. We’re open to give them a try.”
When? Well, that remains the question on everyone’s mind.