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Avalanche Mailbag: Where in lineup will Alex Newhook play this year?

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Alex Newhook

Let’s do an Avalanche Mailbag here.

Great first question Ben. It’s all going to depend who he plays with, I think. If he gets a second-line role, and stays there consistently, I think you have to expect 40 points out of him. If he’s bouncing around the third and fourth lines, I think 25-30 points is the hope.

He’ll probably have to play a lot of right wing too, if he is to play on one of the top two lines. I mean, Landeskog and Burakovsky are the top two left wings on the team and should play in the top six. It’s going to be a very, very interesting subplot to the coming season, how Newhook does. He’s still a kid, let’s not forget.

It’s an act Adam. I don’t hate the Wild and never have. I really like the great state of Minnesota and the great hockey heritage there.

The old Red Wings days? Yeah, there was a bit of hate there. I’ve admitted that in my book, “Blood Feud.”

I DO have a talent for getting under opposing fans’ skin, and sometimes I’ve enjoyed doing that. I actually like to have FUN sometimes on Twitter, but in today’s hyper-sensitive social environment, where nobody has a sense of humor anymore and everything gets taken out of context, I mostly have retired my Matthew Tkachuk/Tom Wilson act.

Another good question regarding Newhook, Will.

At this point, I’d say Jost. He is definitely the more advanced player right now when it comes to the defensive/checking side of the game, and that’s paramount as a 3C. I think the fervent hope of the Avs is that Newhook will establish himself as a worthy top-six forward. He’ll probably have to play on the wing to do that this year, but no doubt the Avs have hope for him that he can be the replacement at 2C for Nazem Kadri after this season – assuming this might be Kadri’s last year with the club.

 

Samuel, I will go with this for right now:

Burakovsky-Kadri-Newhook

Compher-Jost-Nichushkin

Bonus Voucher!

Maltsev-Helm-O’Connor

That fourth line is going to be interesting. I think the Avs might interchange Maltsev and Helm at center occasionally, with the other playing on the wing, likely the left side. But you’ve got guys like Kurtis MacDermid, Kiefer Sherwood and Sampo Ranta who will challenge for a regular roster spot too. It’s going to be a very competitive camp for those depth guys.

It’s a good question Dwayne, and I think it’s fair to think the Avs didn’t offer as much term to Grubauer as he wanted because they have a prospect such as Annunen in the pipeline. But we all know how long goalies take to develop. I think we’re still looking at a couple years, minimum, before Annunen gets a real shot with the Avs. If he has a huge year with the Eagles and guys such as Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz somehow don’t play beyond this coming season, then Annunen’s track to the NHL could be sped up.

The fact is, nobody has any idea how Annunen will be in the NHL. I don’t think Grubauer’s situation wasn’t influenced by Annunen, but maybe a little.

Lots of Newhook questions here, so it’s obvious what’s uppermost in the minds of many Avs fans right now.

Tough question, because the Avs have almost no cap room left and a full complement of one-way contracts to the roster. If Newhook is awful and either does more time in the minors or is just an occasional player on one of the bottom two lines, then there is a void in that top six, for sure. But my guess is the Avs would do something of a top-six winger by committee internally, with Nichushkin a likely candidate or Compher. Hey, maybe Sampo Ranta tears it up and becomes a top-six guy? Again, it’s going to be a top subplot to the team, how well Newhook establishes himself.

I mean, yeah, it’s quite likely. There’s no question that there is pressure on Bednar this year. But there’s pressure on every NHL coach. Every NHL coach’s seat is warm. That’s the nature of the business. Well, maybe not Jon Cooper’s seat, but…

Bednar knows this. He’s not naive. Joe Sakic is not a guy who makes rash decisions, though. He’s kept the faith in Bednar through a lot of ups and downs already, and I don’t expect that to change. But, yeah, of course, a bad start or just underperformance in general would likely force Sakic’s hand in wondering if a change would be necessary.

Only in the case of injury to the top six. I think the Avs are expecting him to get a full year under his belt in Loveland, and look more toward next year with regard to making him a full-timer. Of course, injuries could speed up his development track.

Thanks for the questions folks.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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peter martin

40pts is the benchmark, in a full rookie season, for a bonafide impact player. Mikko had 39 on a crap team, so we’ll excuse missing by 1pt; he did lead the team in goals. IMO Bednar should absolutely make him a top six guy right away.

Matt Briggle

Personally, I would put Newhook on the left and Burakovsky on the right around Kadri. I’ve liked the times that he’s played his off wing and that shot of his is deadly cutting to the middle on his forehand from the right wing spot. The bigger questions for me are what the D pairings will look like.

Joseph Gauthier

What do you guys think of putting Newhook on the left of MacK and Rants? My reasoning is Landy would definitely solidify that 2nd line but more importantly, I would want Newhook to spend as much time as possible with MacK, to see and mimic what it takes, to become a true superstar in this league. Imagine if the main guy you had to look up to, was one of the Top 5 players in the league. Diet, work ethic, compete, mindset, perfectionist and DRIVE! That’s what you see every single day, it has to rub off on you at… Read more »

gurnblanston

I think we will see some of that to test it out and see what Newhook can do. If successful implemented when needed to generate offense or to cover for injuries, but not as a set first line. Just like they did last year with Burky.

Matt Briggle

I think there will be a lot of experimenting with the lines in the pre-season. The one big luxury they have is that the big line is so used to playing together that they can go most of camp without them playing together and know they’ll be good to go whenever they’re called upon. We’re definitely going to see the lines thrown in the proverbial blender a lot early on this season which can be a good thing later on when injuries start happening to have everyone used to playing with everyone else.

[…] — Speaking of the Avs, Adrian Dater opened up the mailbag and answered a bunch of questions. (CHN) […]

Sam

Hey AD, I enjoy your content and appreciate the work you put into this site. However, I must say that there is an ad about mint on the mobile version of this site that makes it difficult to read. The borders of the screen get covered with mint leaves and it covers the beginning and ending of each line. The ad disappears when I scroll down, but if I go back to read where I left off, the ad reappears. Not sure how much control you have with this, I just wanted to pass it on as it makes my… Read more »

ricoflashback

Don’t worry A.D. about getting under opposing fans’ skin. You’re not in Kizla’s league by a long shot. Newhook has the smarts and hockey sense to excel. I just worry about his size as he is still very young. We saw what happened to Bo Byram. Cheap hit by Vegas, sure, but you better expect that in the NHL. I hope Newhook can take the rigors of the NHL and heavy defensemen hammering you every chance they get. I’ve seen enough of Kurtis MacDermid and Kiefer Sherwood to not be overly impressed. O’Connor is a keeper. Maybe Raanta will excel.… Read more »

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