Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

How Are Former Avalanche Players Fitting In On Their New Teams?



nhl Alex newhook avalanche

Over the summer, the Colorado Avalanche moved on from a few forwards. Whether it was letting them leave via free agency, or moving on in the form of a trade, the team lost three of their top nine forwards and had to replace them.

They did replace all of them, and it’s up for debate whether or not they improved, but we’ve had those discussions plenty to date.

I wanted to take a moment and check in on how Evan Rodrigues, J.T. Compher, and Alex Newhook have been performing with their new clubs. Rodrigues signed with the Florida Panthers over the summer, while Compher got a nice contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Newhook, on the other hand, was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, and the Avalanche used some of those assets to get Ross Colton.

How have they performed with their new clubs? Let’s check in with the beat writers from those cities for an update.

Evan Rodrigues

Rodrigues, to me, is “the one that got away” for the Avalanche. Not because he’s a world beater or anything like that, but I felt like he fit in immediately, played well, and the contract he signed in Florida was pretty reasonable. While I wouldn’t have loved four years, getting a versatile forward like Rodrigues for just $3 million is good value.

And so far, it’s worked out in Florida really well. Here’s what Colby Guy from Florida Hockey Now had to say about Rodrigues.

Evan Rodrigues has been a seamless fit on what has been one of the best lines in the NHL this season.

While his scoring numbers have taken a clear backseat to Sasha Barkov and Sam Reinhart’s, scoring seven goals and 26 points in 39 games so far, Rodrigues provides that line with the off-the-puck details it needs to be so successful.

He has played a strong defensive game, and coupled with Barkov and Reinhart’s world-class defensive zone games, has been a part of one of the league’s best possession lines.

Rodrigues’ chippy play along the boards and tenacity on the puck opens up a lot of space for Barkov and Reinhart, and it has shown in both of their games.

Reinhart is on pace to have a career year, scoring 28 goals and 50 points so far.

“I’m very impressed [with Rodrigues]. He’s all around a really good player,” Barkov said. “He can do everything on the ice. He can play defense. He can play offense. He can take faceoffs, even.”

J.T. Compher

Compher was an important piece of the 2022 Stanley Cup Avalanche squad. When Nazem Kadri went out due to injury, he stepped up and filled in admirably as the second line center for a lot of the Conference Finals and Finals.

The next year, he was relied on a little too much, but put up career high numbers. That meant an extension with the Avalanche was nearly impossible, as they didn’t have the cap space to retain him. Compher has gone to Detroit and performed well.

Here’s Robert Duff from Detroit Hockey Now on what Compher has brought to the Red Wings.

This quote from Derek Lalonde pretty much sums up how Compher has fit in:

“I’m a huge fan. I remember him back from his NDP days, his college days, playing him in the Stanley Cup Final. People probably didn’t realize he didn’t have the second center minutes but he was playing as a No. 2 center in that Stanley Cup Final. I’m a big fan. I know when we were talking about him as a free agent, I was very excited. He’s come as advertised. Probably a little more competitive, better leadership, those things you don’t see without being in the locker room. He’s been very good for us.”

Compher is on pace to deliver similar offensive numbers to what he did last season in Colorado. He’s currently playing between Kane and DeBrincat. He’s the net front guy on the first power-play unit and usually one of the first over the boards on the PK.

Alex Newhook

The Avalanche trading Newhook was a little controversial over the summer. Some felt Colorado gave up too soon on the young forward, and that he didn’t get enough of an opportunity with the Avalanche. Others felt it was best to move on while he still had value.

Either way, Newhook is a great guy and I always enjoyed talking to him. He got off to a strong start in Montreal, but unfortunately, an injury has kept him out for a while. He should return before the end of the season.

Here’s Marc Dumont from Montreal Hockey Now on Newhook’s performance so far…

At times, Newhook seems like the best player on the ice. He’s one of the fastest players in the lineup, and his affinity for taking great shots has led to a decent number of goals.

Unfortunately, the great games are usually followed by three or four games in which he’s invisible. It’s hard to judge him given that he was injured just 23 games into the season, but his underlying numbers leave a lot to be desired.

It’s also hard to project where Newhook will end up in the long-term rebuild plans. He doesn’t stand out as a player you can necessarily build around. He can’t handle playing down the middle, and his impact on the wing, for the time being, is negative.

If he’s to become an important member of the team he’ll have to improve his defensive game while scoring with more consistency.

He’ll also have to learn to generate offence with linemates who don’t necessarily love scoring off the rush.

To his credit, he was starting to play solid hockey prior to his injury. He was on pace for 20+ goals and the Habs are a goal-starved team. So there’s definitely value there.

Justin Barron


While checking in on Newhook, I figured I’d see how former first round pick Justin Barron is doing. The Avalanche dealt Barron to the Canadiens to acquire Artturi Lehkonen. Obviously, that move has worked out well for Colorado, but I still wanted to see how Barron has performed.

Barron spent significant time in the AHL last season, which served him well once he returned to the NHL. His offensive prowess is impossible to ignore. He’s been very useful on the powerplay, and his overall production has also impressed.

When he joins the rush he presents a legitimate scoring threat.

Unfortunately, it’s a Jekyll and Hyde situation with Barron.

During one shift he can look like Bobby Orr, but the next he’s bobbling a puck like a drunken octopus handling a grenade.

His decision-making is also suspect. If Barron relies on his instincts, he can quickly clear the zone and start the breakout. If he has too much time to think, there are healthy odds he’ll make a poor pass or be stripped of the puck. Those poor decisions often directly lead to goals against.

If he’s to stick in the NHL he’ll have to minimize the glaring mistakes and trust his training.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.