Colorado Avalanche: Impressions from Prospect Showcase so Far

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: J.T. Compher
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: J.T. Compher /

Prospects from the Colorado Avalanche continue to showcase their talents, and occasionally what they need to work on, during the 2017 NHL Prospect Showcase.

Colorado Avalanche prospects and a few players on tryout contracts have been in San Jose all week showing off their skills in the 2017 NHL Prospect Showcase. The final game is this afternoon at 1 PM MT — it appears this one will not be televised.

They’ve played two out of their three games so far, both of them televised. Well, mostly televised. The feed from the Arizona Coyotes game kept going out. In any case, I was able to watch enough of both games to develop some distinct impressions.

First, the Avalanche prospects failed to win either game so far. Both times they went down early. Against the Sharks they had to mount a huge comeback that fell short in a 7-4 loss. Against the Coyotes, they came back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, and lose.

Naturally, losing doesn’t bode well, but these are just prospects. It would be easy to say the way they’re losing reminds us of how the Colorado Avalanche lost last season. However, the Avalanche lost 60 games last season — they lost every way possible, from blown leads to failed comebacks to OT losses to blowouts.

So, there aren’t any really takeaways team-wise from those losses. Let’s look at some individual players.

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Forward Tyson Jost looks so polished. It’s obvious that he’s one of the prospects out there who has NHL experience. Not just that, though — he must have had some excellent training in the offseason. He looks NHL-ready now. It’ll be good to see how he continues to show in the preseason, especially during preseason games against NHLers.

Forward J.T. Compher is another shining star. He has even more NHL experience than Jost, and that shows in his comfort level. In fact, he plays well on a line with Jost. He’s another prospect to watch in the preseason.

Forward A.J. Greer has been a surprise. I guess he shouldn’t be since he was an AHL All Star last season. However, he’s continuing that play by coming out like gangbusters this preseason. He even scored a goal last night by finishing off a Jost shot. In general, he showed surprisingly good chemistry with Jost, who’s a completely different style of player.

Speaking of opposites, the college signings are two sides of the same coin. Alex Kerfoot and Dominic Toninato are equally talented, but they play a completely different style of game. The bigger Toninato is definitely the more physical guy, while Kerfoot’s got good speed. I doubt either one makes the opening night roster, but they’re making cases for themselves as early call-ups.

Center Gustav Olhaver continues to impress me. The 20-year-old plays a man’s game, and also a Euro game. I don’t know that he has the chops to make the NHL team, but he’s definitely a pleasant surprise for a seventh rounder.

Left wing Ben Storm looks like Patrick Bordeleau. It doesn’t help that he wears Bordie’s old #58. He’s also the same size and seems to skate the same way. I keep thinking the 31-year-old Bordeleau is out there with the prospects.

Left wing Shawn St. Amant should be offered a contract to play with the San Antonio Rampage. He seems poised to translate his ECHL success into the AHL.

Defenseman Nicolas Meloche has shown a lot of development. Defensemen notoriously take longer, but Meloche is coming along nicely. I could see him doing well in the AHL this season.

Defenseman Andrei Mironov may need to adapt his game to the smaller ice surface. He’s still a dream skater, but he just looks like he wants more space out there sometimes. I’d like to see him take his big frame to the dirty areas more, too.

Goalie Petr Kvaca has been another pleasant surprise. His start against the Coyotes was a little rough. However, he came up with some big saves. The Avs drafted him this year. He’s slated to go back to his native Czech Republic at least for next season. If he continues to develop well, he could earn himself an entry-level contract in the next couple years.

Next: All About Nicolas Meloche

It’s going to be exciting to go to the Colorado Avalanche training camp on Friday. Many of these prospects will be skating with legit NHLers for the first time, while others are going to be gunning for roster spots.