Could Calum Ritchie make his NHL debut in 2024-25 with the Colorado Avalanche?

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Jason Kempin/GettyImages

While he hasn’t played in the NHL, or AHL for that matter, yet, one of the Colorado Avalanche first round picks from last year’s draft is absolutely dominating in the OHL. Calum Ritchie has been with the Oshawa Generals over the last three seasons. He is crushing it over there.

In 50 games during the 2023-24 season, Ritchie recorded 28 goals and 52 assists for a total of 80 points. Eighty points… For a 19-year old. That’s insanely massive. I suppose it’s not as massive or impressive in a league such as the OHL, but to me, it’s huge. Ever since Ritchie was drafted late in the first round last year, everybody raved about the pick and how the Avalanche landed a steal.

The Colorado Avalanche were fortunate to get Ritchie due to an injury he suffered that caused him to slide to 27th overall.

Unfortunately, the Avalanche, if they decided to place him on the roster, would not be able to send him down to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles due to his age. This is an unfortunate rule that I just found out from Evan Rawal in his article here.

It’s also possible, as Rawal states in the article above, that Ritchie might choose to stay in the OHL if he decides he’s not ready. Based off his production in the OHL, it looks like he is closer than one would expect, but I understand that there is more that goes into “being ready” than just stat production.

The Avalanche are in search for some forward help to help provide some goal scoring for next season.

Colorado Avalanche won’t rush Calum Ritchie, but it would be awesome to see him with the team.

It really doesn’t make the most sense rushing Calum Ritchie into something if he’s not ready, as much as fans might want to see him with the Colorado Avalanche. Trust me, I do too. You see the point production he’s had lately and it’s hard to not be blown away by it.

The NHL is more than a point production league. Sure, it’s a massive aspect, but there’s no guarantee that Ritchie will put up these types of numbers in his first year in the NHL. Once he becomes old enough, then the team will be able to call him up and send him down to the Colorado Eagles.

It’s possible that he makes an immediate impact, but is the team willing to risk that, knowing they can’t send him down if he’s not actually there yet?

It’s also a bit of a risk putting him on the Avalanche roster in case he starts out rusty, and his confidence doesn’t grow. That’s something you have to worry about with young players, no matter the sport.

Right now, it feels as if the Avalanche probably are comfortable with some of the guys that they have plugged in to the lineup from the Eagles last season, and don’t forget about Nikolai Kovalenko, who the team is very high on. At the end of the day, Calum Ritchie’s time will come, and the hope is that he will have a dominant effect with the Avalanche.