Colorado Avalanche: Trevor Zegras a Mobile, Two-Way Forward

ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 19: Team Langenbrunner forward Trevor Zegras (11) skates with the puck during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 19: Team Langenbrunner forward Trevor Zegras (11) skates with the puck during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche have many options for both the #4 and #16 picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. One might be two-way forward Trevor Zegras.

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic gets to sashay up to the podium twice on the first day of the 2019 NHL Draft. Ok, our HHOFer isn’t exactly known for sashaying, but he’s going to walk sedately to the podium to select both at #4 and #16 for the Avs.

Picks numbered one and two are set — Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. So, the Chicago Blackhawks will make the first surprise selection of the draft at #3.

While Colorado is no longer a team firmly in the rebuilding process, they’re still a young team on the upturn. Drafting well is important to them to keep refilling their prospect pool as young players get called up to play for the NHL team.

One of the areas that the Avalanche need help is with secondary scoring. Now, the hope is that some of the current youngsters will take a step forward in their development. However, Colorado will eventually want to roll four scorable lines, so they’ll need new youngsters for replenishment.

Trevor Zegras is the latest prospect we’re going to look at as a potential fit for the Colorado Avalanche.

Trevor Zegras

2018-19 Team: US National U18 Team
Date of Birth: Mar 20, 2001 (18 years old)
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 168 lbs.
Position: Center/Right wing
Shoots: Left

Ranked #10 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #10 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #9 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #7 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #6 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #21 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #10 by TSN/McKenzi

As you can see, Trevor Zegras is scouted to go lower than Colorado’s fourth-overall pick and higher than their 16th-overall pick. However, you never know how the draft is going to play out.

Indeed, Trevor Zegras has shown himself to be a playmaker and overall points producer. He earned 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 27 games at the USNTDP juniors level and 87 points (26 goals, 61 assists) for the U19 team.

To be clear, that’s in the same season. That means he played a grinding 87 games and earned 127 points — 40 of them goals. Impressive.

Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects is high on the skill Zegras brings to the table, calling him an “elite two-way forward.” Joe especially appreciates his “pro-level mobility,” calling it “the foundation of his game.” He observes that said mobility supplements his in-transition speed and pace of play.

Here’s where Joe considers Zegras unique strength to be:

"“He knows how to get under the skin of opponents and will actively seek out opportunities to lay the body and create separation, all the while staying attentive to the unfolding play. This unique aspect of his game makes him difficult and frustrating to play against.”"

Joe goes on to call Zegras a “dangerous scoring threat” with vision that matches his net-drive.

The Draftsite is also impressed with Zegras:

"“Creative centre who plays an aggressive style at a high skill level with a nice shot release…Possessed top end awareness and vision and has to be also regarded as one of the elite passers in the class, and his anticipation in setting offensive looks is a thing of beauty…He displays many of the same type characteristics that Elias Pettersson, being able to slip in receive and pass the puck to the open man with true quickness and accuracy.”"

In fact, stick work along with his mobility are areas of excellence for Zegras.

Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey remarks on both in his assessment of Trevor Zegras. Kerr points out Zegras is known as a playmaker who makes accurate tape-to-tape passes but can “score goals with soft hands in tight to the net.” He’s also accurate with the tip-ins, an Avalanche mainstay.

One aspect of the game that Kerr especially remarks on is Zegras’ defensive prowess:

"“He backchecks hard and supports the defense down low. He uses his quickness and an active stick to create turnovers…He also uses his smarts, positioning, and anticipation to be effective in his own end of the rink.”"

Trevor Zegras is, after all, tagged as a two-way forward, so you’d expect some decent defense in his game.

Trevor Zegras in action:

Trevor Zegras and the Colorado Avalanche

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The Colorado Avalanche have a history in recent years of drafting off the board. They did so with Conner Bleackley in 2014, again with Tyson Jost in 2016, Cale Makar in 2017, and, really, Martin Kaut in 2018. The team likes to think they have the inside track on prospects the others are discounting.

Trevor Zegras does seem to have a skill set that will complement the Avs eventually. He does need more development, and he’s set to get it at Boston University next season.

Is this a player the Avalanche will take a flyer on? It’s not outside the realm of possibility. He seems small at first look, but looking at his frame, you see potential for the kid to fill out. And he plays an all-around game that teams can easily develop.

Here’s the full list of Colorado’s draft selections this year:

#4 (from Ottawa)
#16
#47
#62 (also from Ottawa)
#78
#140
#171
#202

I’d be happier if Colorado was able to select Zegras at #16 instead of #4. But I might not hate him as a fourth-overall pick.

Looking at a Kevin Hayes Acquisition. dark. Next

The Vancouver Canucks will host the 2019 NHL Draft on June 21-22. While the time for the first round hasn’t been announced, last year it was at 5:30 pm MT.