Even after they made two picks in the first round of June’s NHL Draft, the NHL Network still shut out the Colorado Avalanche in their prospect rankings.
And to be honest, I don’t really blame them.
On Friday, the NHL Network released their top 50 prospects that have been drafted into the NHL. A quick peek, and you’ll see that not a single Avalanche prospect made it onto the list.
The Top 50 Prospects in the NHL, revealed.
Let's hear it 🧐 do you agree? pic.twitter.com/nAHLhOlXMM
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 11, 2023
Now, it’s not a total surprise. While Colorado has three recent first round picks in their system, they’re all late first round picks, so seeing them left off the list makes sense.
Calum Ritchie is the player that likely has the best case to be on there, but he’s also coming off a somewhat disappointing draft year, considering what the expectations were for him before last season. He did play most of the season injured, but it’s easy to see why he was left off. Ritchie earned an invite to Canada’s National Junior summer meetings last month, so he has a decent shot to make the World Junior team this Winter.
A big year for him and he might catapult himself into the top 50.
And then you have Oskar Olausson. His first professional season was a little underwhelming, as he finished with just 20 points in 63 AHL games. His one NHL game saw him play less than 7 minutes, so you can’t take much from that.
The organization has named Olausson as someone who could push for ice-time out of training camp, but it would be a major surprise if he didn’t start the year in the AHL.
While the Avalanche have some players who look to have NHL futures, like Nikolai Kovalenko and Jean-Luc Foudy, neither of them are considered top prospects around the league.
One or more of these players breaking out could go a long way in extending the current championship window of the Avalanche, but as of right now, the NHL Network probably got this one right.