What the Calum Ritchie signing means for the Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have made it official and signed 2023 first-round pick Calum Ritchie to a three-year entry-level contract. Ritchie cannot be sent down to the Colorado Eagles until he turns 20 years old.
London Knights v Oshawa Generals
London Knights v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

After plenty of speculation, the Colorado Avalanche have officially signed 2023 first-round pick Calum Ritchie to an entry-level contract worth the rookie minimum. This move is huge for Ritchie, who essentially is a rookie despite getting drafted a year ago, since he has yet to play in an NHL game.

Per rules agreed upon by the NHL and the CHL, Ritchie is ineligible to play for the Eagles due to the fact that he has not reached the age of 20 yet. This means that the Avalanche were very confident in what the 19-year-old can bring to the table this early in the process. He still has to make the team though. If they decide he isn’t ready, the Avalanche can send him back to the Oshawa Generals.

Ritchie fell in last year’s draft because of a shoulder injury. What was his loss was a gain for the Colorado Avalanche. What I mean by that is that he would have gotten drafted higher if not for that injury. That being said, the fall in the draft could end up working out nicely for Ritchie, who could work his way into a pretty significant role as an Avalanche center.

One reason why this move really helps the team is that because he’s a rookie, he doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The Avalanche do not have a lot of cap room right now, so this move makes so much sense in a few ways, including that.

The Avalanche still have a couple of roster spots to fill out their team after some free agency moves, and it isn’t that big of a surprise that Ritchie is in position to take one of them after how he performed during the team’s development camp. It was good thing after good thing on social media when it came to Ritchie. That’s not to say he’s guaranteed to be perfect at the next level.

It is still possible that he has some growing pains in the NHL, but it appears that literally nobody is expecting such thing to happen. You would think that Ritchie was the next Wayne Gretzky based off of the fact that everybody talks highly of him. The Colorado Avalanche hope that Ritchie is even half that good, because if he is, good results will happen for this team going forward.

Perhaps Ritchie will fight for the spot that Andrew Cogliano had until he retired this offseason. Whichever line he is on, us fans are going to be excited for him to finally get on the ice.