Colorado Avalanche: All About D-Man Nicolas Meloche

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 27: Nicolas Meloche poses for a portrait after being selected 40th overall by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB
SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 27: Nicolas Meloche poses for a portrait after being selected 40th overall by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nicolas Meloche is an often-overlooked prospect for the team. Yet he has the potential to make an impact.

The Colorado Avalanche have a handful of good prospects, and defenseman Nicolas Meloche is one of those. The Avs chose Meloche in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft with their #40 selection.

Meloche is in the first year of his entry level contract, which carries a cap hit of $853,333 with a $70,000 minors salary. He signed the contract on March 6, 2017, after completing his season with the QMJHL.

Nicolas Meloche Biography

Nicolas Meloche was born on July 18, 1997, in LaSalle, Quebec. He says he started skating at the age of four, but mostly because he wanted to play hockey.

He played youth hockey in the AHM Île-Perrot. From 2011-12 he played Bantamm AA hockey for the Trois-Lacs Eagles then moved on to the Quebec Major Junior AAA league for the 2012-13 season as a 15-year-old.

The 2013-14 season saw Nicolas Meloche enter the QMJHL, where he stayed for the next four seasons. Meloche wore the A for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for half a season before being traded to the Gatineau Olympiques. Halfway through the 2016-17 season he was traded to the Charlottetown Islanders.

Meloche said of that second trade:

"“We had a good team in Gatineau, but we didn’t play as well as we should have. Getting the opportunity to be traded to the Maritimes with a great team and coaching staff for me was a good opportunity. It was really fun to be there, and I had a great season there.”"

During that interview for the Colorado Avalanche website, Meloche also talked about developing his game in the QMJHL:

"“For me, those past four years were unbelievable. I met so many great people, and I had three great billets in three different cities. I came in the league as a kid, and I came out as a man. It was so great for me and my development. To start at 16 years old, it helped me a lot to become more of a pro. It was a great four years.”"

The 2017-18 season will mark the first professional one for the 20-year-old Nic Meloche.

Getting to Know Nicolas Meloche

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The young defenseman has some good size at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. He can play with a physicality as someone who plays with an edge. However, Nicolas Meloche is also an excellent skater who sees the ice well and can move into position to prevent opponent scoring chances.

Meloche had the opportunity to work with Colorado Avalanche great Adam Foote. Meloche considers that the onetime defenseman “knows everything — every small detail.” Foote corrected some aspects of Meloche’s game. Nic added, “Adam is so nice to us, especially to the ‘D,’ like me who plays a little like him.”

Since he’s only been in major juniors, Meloche has only lived with billet families. As such, he doesn’t have a pregame meal preference, though like most players he favors chicken and pasta. (Those that haven’t gone gluten-free or meatless anyway.) Indeed, Meloche has stated that he loves eating: “Food is so good!”

At first blush, Nicolas Meloche presents as a likable guy, someone who may eventually be a positive force in the locker room. Indeed, he describes himself as a “nice, caring, funny guy.”

Here’s some video of Meloche in the penalty box during the Colorado Avalanche Burgundy and White game:

Nicolas Meloche and the Colorado Avalanche

Nic Meloche is a defenseman, and those famously take longer to develop. He’s done a good job progressing in major juniors, and now he’ll probably continue for at least a little while at the AHL level.

He’ll certainly attend rookie camp as well as training camp. However, I doubt he’ll beat out more seasoned defensive prospects such as Chris Bigras, Anton Lindholm, and Andrei Mironov.

That said, Meloche could eventually be a solid defender for the Colorado Avalanche. It was his size that attracted the previous regime, but he offers more polished skills with his hockey IQ and smooth skating. He’ll probably need to work on some finesse skills such as stick handling.

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It’s early days for Nicolas Meloche and the Colorado Avalanche. If we see him at all next season, it’s most likely to be later in the year as a tryout. Hopefully he gets some good seasoning with the San Antonio Rampage and make the most of his chances.