Colorado Avalanche Rookie Showcase Day 2 Takeaways


The Colorado Avalanche rookies and prospects defeated the Anaheim Ducks to finish the Rookie Showcase, 2-0.  For the Avs, there’s only positives to take away from the day.

Well, it was a good feeling seeing Burgundy and Blue on the ice again.  Although it was only prospects and rookies, the Colorado Avalanche Rookie Showcase reminded my why hockey’s the best.  Skill, physicality, speed and intensity characterized the afternoon that saw the Avs rookies beat the Anaheim Ducks’ rookies by a score of 3-2 in the second day of the Colorado avalanche Rookie Showcase.  

Aside from seeing Avalanche hockey again after a long summer, todays game was full of positives for the Avs and their young guys.  As a team, they excelled at winning puck battles, forcing turnovers via the forecheck, finishing their checks, having strong breakouts and transitions, while maintaining intensity for the entire 60 minutes.  It was great to see, as these are the exact characteristics that have been lacking in Avalanche game the last few seasons.  

It’s almost like the coaching staff actually has an idea of what went wrong the last two years and has been making changes to fix the problem.  Imagine that. That alone has me feeling positive about today and the start of the pre-season.

More than anything, I was impressed by the Avs high pressure forecheck this afternoon.  For the entire 60 minutes, the Avs pressured the Ducks defenders with a forecheck that ended either in a turnover or a good hit.  Of course, this also led to an increase in possession and scoring chances.  This fits in with the up-tempo and aggressive play new head coach Jared Bednar has said he would like to implement in Colorado.

Related Story: Colorado Avalanche Rookies and Prospects Looking to Impress

The game ended with a five minute penalty kill by the Avs, in response to a Nikita Zadorov major penalty and game misconduct. Spencer Martin played all 60 minutes, stopping 30 of 32.  The Avs goals were scored by Nicholas Meloche, Gustav Olhaver and Chris Bigras.  Overall it was an exciting showing by the Avs, who showed teamwork, intensity  and physicality all afternoon.

Here are some takeaways on individual players:

Spencer Martin, Goalie, #30

Martin was easily one of the best players this afternoon.  His solid positioning allowed him to easily handle his workload.  His movements were precise and he responded quickly to rebounds and puck movement.  Generally, he seemed extremely focused and at ease in his crease.  Great signs for the Avs.

Chris Bigras, Defender, #3

In my mind, Bigras was far and away the strongest player on the ice today.  His skill and hockey IQ were noticeable every time he was involved in the play.  Additionally, he showed zero hesitation in any of his decisions, acting quickly and confidently.  Finally, he scored the game winner on a perfect slap shot that beat the goalie over the glove and under the bar.    

Nicholas Meloche, Defender, #59

Partnered with Bigras today, Meloche scored the Avs first goal.  That was nice, but more importantly, I was extremely impressed by his intelligence on the ice.  Although he never shied away from physical contact, he did not rely on it, instead using impeccable positioning, stick work and skating to turn pucks over.  Looked at ease and in control and showed some offensive awareness, as well.  

J.C. Beudin, Center, #63

I’ve seen Beudin skate a couple times, but never noticed him as much as today.  Despite his smaller size, Beudin was just as active in the physical forecheck and was involved in several turnovers.  Most evident thought was his offensive ability, which he showed through creative passing and stickhandling, while taking shots when their available.  He played with tenacity and speed, which only highlighted his offensive skills.  

Mason Geertsen, Defender, #2

Geertsen has been one of my favorite prospects the last few years.  He doesn’t project to have as much upside as Bigras, but he plays with character and skill on the ice.  Most notably, is his speed and physical play.  These have always been highlights of his game, but they were on full display today.  As a fast and skilled skater, Geertsen can go out of position tracking forwards or pinching offensively and still recover to correct positioning.  I could’ve believe how many times I saw him behind the Ducks net chasing down pucks.  

Also, I loved watching him use his speed to close in on the puck carrier to deliver a big hit.  He plays with the nastiness of Adam Foote, but with the foot speed to keep up with the quickness of the modern game.  Also, Mason threw down with Darian Skeoch.  It was an intense brawl that ended when both guys ran out of energy.  Overall it was a strong showing from Geertsen.

Nikita Zadorov, Defender, #16

I was more excited to see Zadorov today than anything.  If Zadorov is going to become a core member of the Avs, he should be an impact player in games like this.  Overall, Zads played well carrying the puck confidently, making strong breakout passes, and of course, acting like a human wrecking ball.  While these were all their, so was his characteristic turnovers, bad penalties and tendency to be out of position.

To be fair, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives, as he was an impact player every time he was on the ice.  I’m a huge fan of Zads and I loved seeing his confidence with the puck, his ability to pinch and then calmly get back in position to create a turnover, not to mention his shot.  He hit the crossbar on his first shift and let loose several booming slapshots throughout the game.  Unfortunately, Zads afternoon ended early with a 5 minute major and game misconduct for boarding.  He looked improved from last season, but still showed signs of inconsistency.

First line, J.T. Compher, #37, A.J. Greer #46 and Shawn St. Amant, #70.  

These guys definitely looked like the top line for the Avs.  Although they weren’t as impactful as they probably would’ve liked to be.  Every time they had a offensive chance they looked dangerous.

 J.T. Compher looks extremely comfortable at this skill level – it’ll be interesting to see if he makes the big team this year.  

Overall, I have so many good things to say about the Avs today. Hopefully the real Colorado Avalanche will play with the same intensity and teamwork this year.

Also, it looks like the Avs prospect pool has finally stabilized as we have plenty of guys to look forward to.