Nicolas Meloche was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round (40th overall) at the 2015 NHL Draft. The right-shot defenseman has spent the last three seasons developing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and split the 2015-16 campaign between the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and his current team, the Gatineau Olympiques.
In Baie-Comeau, the native of La Salle, Quebec, recorded 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 25 games. With the Olympiques, the 19-year-old blueliner went on to tally 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 28 contests, along with 28 penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating.
ColoradoAvalanche.com sat down with Meloche this past summer.
What have been your impressions of Denver so far?
"It's been great. We haven't visited the city that much, but just seeing the mountains everywhere, it's beautiful and it's nice to be here."
What are some things that have stood out to you about the Avalanche organization?
"Footer (development consultant Adam Foote) has always been great-being in the NHL-and [development consultant Brett] Clark. It's just been so nice to learn from them and to be close to them, and they share their experience. It's pretty nice to be around great hockey players."
If you weren't playing hockey, what would you be doing?
"Basketball, probably. I know I'm small for basketball, but yeah, I just love the sport."
What do you like to do when you're not on the ice?
"I'm always with my friends from back home because I'm never there; I'm always away, all over the place. So I spend some time with my family and friends, just hanging around and chill and maybe go to the beach. It's a hot summer in Montreal so I try to take advantage of it."
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
"Favorite movie is Happy Gilmore. I love Adam Sandler; it's a funny movie. Favorite show is probably How I Met Your Mother, with Barney."
What is your favorite band or artist?
"I love Drake a lot. And he's a Canadian, too, so I'm a little bit proud of that."
What is it like playing hockey in the Quebec major juniors?
"It's a little bit like pro; you play a lot of games and we train. The only difference is we go to school, and we don't get paid the same salary. We play a lot and practice every day. It makes myself a better man and a better hockey player."
What is one of your favorite memories from the past few years?
"My first year in junior at 16, we had a great team and we had a great coach: Eric Veilleux, who's now in San Antonio. We lost in Game 7 in the President's Cup-it's sad memories-but it was a great year for me, growing a lot and meeting some great group of guys. It was my first year so I was kind of living the dream."
What have you improved on the most since the Avalanche drafted you?
"My skating; my agility on the ice. I wasn't a great skater when I got drafted, but I've learned a lot. I did some power skating this summer and at development camp with Tracy Tutton. I'm learning a lot, so I think it's the thing I've improved the most."
What is your favorite moment in sports or hockey history?
"I don't have any especially, but I remember when Patrick Kane scored the overtime goal in the Stanley Cup. I think it's a good memory I had because I was watching it with family and friends, and I just remember that goal."
Video: Meloche talks after Avalanche Rookie Camp practice