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Evaluating the Avalanche Call-Ups This Season – Part Two

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The Colorado Avalanche have been ravaged by injuries this season, meaning they’ve been forced to use a lot of different players.

Even using the term “a lot” might be an understatement.

In case you missed it, here’s part one of the list, with seven players evaluated.

In part two, we will evaluate the other seven players that the team has been forced to use this year due to injuries.

As I mentioned in part one, it’s been a mixed bag of results, and especially up front, there hasn’t been one big standout.

Shane Bowers

Games: One (1:46 ice time)

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 66.67%

Statistics: Zero points

This one is truly unfortunate.

For years, Avalanche fans have waited to see Bowers get a shot in the NHL. He’s dealt with a lot of injuries in the AHL and despite looking good in training camps, has never gotten a look.

He finally got his chance this season, and unfortunately, it lasted all of three shifts. He got into a battle in the corner and came away with an elbow injury. That injury sidelined him for about a month. As soon as he was healthy, he went back down to the Eagles.

The shame is that he looked good in those three shifts, even coming close to scoring on his first shift. It’s too small a sample size to judge anything on, but I would be nice to get another look at him. The fourth line still needs help, and perhaps more than any of the call-ups this year, he fits the mold in terms of what you want in a fourth liner.

It seems unlikely to happen at this point, but hopefully this isn’t his last chance in the NHL.

Ben Meyers

Games: 20

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 52.66%

Statistics: One goal

This one is kind of cheating. Meyers made the team out of training camp, but was sent down pretty quickly due to a lack of ice time.

After 10 games (and an injury), Meyers made his way back to Denver and has been more noticeable on the ice. His skating has flashed on the forecheck and he looks more comfortable with the puck on his stick. Unfortunately, finishing has been an issue. He’s had plenty of chances, but the puck seems to just roll off his stick when he gets close.

Of late, he’s seen time on the powerplay as a net front presence, but hasn’t been able to carve out a definitive role with the team. If/when everyone gets healthy, I imagine he settles in on the fourth line, but he’s going to need to figure out what his role is to stick long term. The production will have to come soon.

One area that Meyers has excelled in is face-offs. At 52.9%, he’s the teams best face-off man for anyone whose played over 10 games. Since he hasn’t excelled offensively, this is another way for him to show the staff his value, particularly since it’s an area the team struggles in.

Andreas Englund

Games: 20

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 53.31%

Statistics: Two assists

It wasn’t looking good for Englund after his first call-up. He looked out of place in the lineup and had some miscommunication with his goaltender. He was sent down and wasn’t sure we were going to see him again.

But when he got called back up at the start of December, he looked noticeably more comfortable. He’s made mistakes here and there (The Toronto game wasn’t his best showing), but he’s been solid positionally and provided a physical presence in the absence of Josh Manson. He’ll never be mistaken for a puck moving defender, but managed to play a safe game.

When I spoke to him in the locker room, he sounded like a confident player. He’s been scratched the last handful of games, and guys like Josh Manson and Bowen Byram have begun skating, so his time in Denver might be limited. But overall, he’s been a solid fill-in on the back end. As he has in previous years, Nolan Pratt has managed to get a lot out of some limited defenders from the Eagles.

Jean-Luc Foudy

Games: Nine

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 47.4%

Statistics: Zero points

Of all the players brought up from the Eagles, Foudy showed the most promise, and that should have fans feeling optimistic about his future.

His skating flashed almost immediately, as he’s a perfect fit for the way the Avalanche like to play. The playmaking also flashed, but he was setting up guys like Dryden Hunt, who aren’t known for their finishing. Foudy even showed a bit of a nasty streak, despite not being the heaviest guy in the world.

His last few games with the Avalanche, you could see signs that maybe he wasn’t ready to be a full-time NHL’er, and that’s okay. He’s only 20 years old. There’s still room for growth at both ends of the ice. He’s having a tremendous season in the AHL, with 22 points in 26 games, so this will not be the last we see of him.

That nine game stint showed there are plenty of reasons to be excited about his potential in the organization. Since the injuries don’t seem to be slowing down, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he gets another call-up this year.

Mikhail Maltsev

Games: Five

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 46.15%

Statistics: Zero points

Maltsev is quite flashy in the AHL, but that flash hasn’t quite carried over to the NHL.

I actually liked Maltsev’s play this year and was a little disappointed when he was sent down. He wasn’t doing anything special, and the offense hasn’t translated to the NHL, but he was playing defensive hockey in limited minutes. His skating doesn’t necessarily fit with the Avalanche and how they like to play, but he’s a smart player.

Unfortunately, he suffered a long-term injury with the Eagles and has not played since the end of November. It’s unknown if he’ll return this year, but as far as call-ups go, he’s a pretty safe and dependable one to fill in for a few minutes here and there.

Oskar Olausson

Games: One

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 60%

Statistics: Zero points

Olausson is very raw and unrefined, so his call-up was a little surprising, but it never hurts to get a look at a player and see exactly where they’re at.

Unfortunately for him, the game he was called up for didn’t go as planned. He started on the second line, but the Avalanche suffered a few injuries, so the lines got jumbled and his chances diminished. He did get to showcase his release one time, but missed just high over the net.

At only 20, the Avalanche can afford to be patient with him. He’s got 14 points in 31 games in his first full season in the AHL, with plenty to work on in terms of overall growth in his game. If he develops like they hope, he could be a Burakovsky-esque player whose shot makes him dangerous from anywhere on the ice. That’s the type of player the Avalanche have missed this season.

Jayson Megna

Games: 14

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 43.11%

Statistics: Zero points

In one of the more bizarre waiver claims of the year, the Avalanche lost Megna to Anaheim in early December. I say bizarre because the Ducks are at the bottom of the standings and Megna, already in his 30’s, doesn’t exactly add much to their lineup.

In previous years, Megna was solid and dependable for the Avalanche. This year, his defensive game started to slip and for a fourth line guy, you cannot have that.

While losing Megna isn’t a big loss for the NHL squad, it is for the Eagles, as he was a big leader for the young players down there that you cannot replace mid-season. It’s an unfortunate loss for the overall depth of the organization.

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