J.T. Compher is starting to find his niche with the Colorado Avalanche as a reliable and offensively-impactful forward.
J.T. Compher now has three goals in 16 games for the Colorado Avalanche; however, two of those goals have come in the last five games, and he seems to be finding his place on the roster.
Nonetheless, where he plays next season will depend on a lot of factors this offseason.
Will Matt Duchene be traded this offseason? Will Tyson Jost prove he can play in the NHL, or will he need time in the AHL? Who will the Avs pick in the entry draft this summer, and will that player man the center position?
Regardless, J.T. Compher is proving that he can play at the NHL level, and his game against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night could be a sign of a bright future on the horizon for the Avs.
In other words, I haven’t seen a #37 in an Avs’ sweater play like that since Ryan O’Reilly switched to No. 90, or since Chris Drury’s 2000-01 season.
More From Mile High Sticking: Observations from Tyson Jost’s Debut with the Avs
There are bright lights in this kid’s future, and Compher could end up becoming the best two-way center the Avs have had since Ryan O’Reilly’s departure.
But for now, let’s just back up and talk about where his niche is for next season. I don’t want to put any high expectations on the kid, yet…
J.T. Compher is a Reliable Scoring Threat
It’s strange that Compher hasn’t found his playmaking hands yet, seeing as he led the NCAA in assists during his junior year (last season), with 47. Most of his scoring chances have come off his own hands, as he’s hit several posts already in his 16 games.
However, you have to imagine that if he starts getting his teammates involved as well, Compher is going to be a real nice option on the third line.
Most importantly though is his ability to play responsible hockey. That’s what the Avs need on their team right now more than anything — forwards who back-check, and can exit their own zone with the puck on their stick.
More From Mile High Sticking: Tyson Jost Brings Excitement to the Avs
Compher has been doing a pretty good job of that in his short time with the team this season. On Friday night, his speed and reliability were really on display though.
The best showing of his skill came late in the third period on a chance he was unfortunately unable to put home (2:40 mark of the video):
That takes an extreme amount of confidence and skill, and I love his patience. He waits until Jake Allen drops before he takes the shot, and just barely misses twine. Hopefully his confidence continues to grow, and his performance kicks up another notch over the remaining five games.
I keep saying that J.T. Compher is likely a third line center for the Avs, but he could theoretically make his case for becoming the second line center. He certainly has the skill set necessary to becoming a second line center.
However, his talent might be better suited to a third line role so the Avs can actually roll out three lines on any given night that are a threat to score and make their impact on the game.
That’s obviously where players like A.J. Greer and Matt Nieto come into play as well. However, at this point, it’s unlikely the Avs are able to hold onto Nieto’s services.
The future is bright for the Colorado Avalanche, and J.T. Compher figures to play a large role in that future. He just needs to find his niche with the team.
It’s unclear where that niche will be next season, but he is at least showcasing the skills he is likely to add to the lineup.
There are only five games left folks, and two of them are against the Minnesota Wild, so get to watching because the grueling six month hiatus from Avs’ hockey is swiftly approaching.