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Rookie Rewind: J.T. Compher

The left wing set a franchise record with two overtime goals in his rookie season

by Saber Bufton / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling players who just completed their rookie seasons with the organization. This installment takes a look at forward J.T. Compher.

After making his NHL debut in the 2016-17 season, J.T. Compher continued to develop and showed growth during his rookie season with the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017-18 campaign.

The Northbrook, Illinois, native played 69 games in his first full NHL season with the Avs and tallied 23 points (13 goals and 10 assists). He also played in all six of the Avalanche's playoff games, recording three assists.

The season started off strong for Compher with him going on a three-game point streak from October 7-11, the longest of his career. He continued playing well before he broke his right thumb in the Oct. 19 contest against the St. Louis Blues, the eighth game of the season. 

The left wing missed the next six games before returning for the 2017 NHL Global Series in Sweden against the Ottawa Senators. The forward scored three goals in the next 10 games, as well as registering one assist. On December 9, he recorded his first career multi-point game with a pair of assists in the 7-3 victory at the Florida Panthers.

Compher was one of four NHL rookies with two or more overtime winners in 2017-18, joining Kyle Connor (three), Christian Fischer (two), and Clayton Keller (two). 

Video: COL@EDM: Compher wins it in OT for Avalanche

He also became the first rookie in the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise to record two overtime goals in a season--the first coming on Dec. 29 at home versus the Toronto Maple Leafs and the second on Feb. 1 at the Edmonton Oilers.

During the contest against Toronto, Compher suffered an upper-body injury in the third period but continued to play before ending the game in the extra frame.

"He was in some discomfort, kind of started getting worse," coach Jared Bednar said about Compher. "Tough guy, finished the game and ends up getting us the OT winner. The next morning, he was sore."

The rookie ended up missing six games due to that injury, but came back and recorded two points in four games (a goal and an assist).

Compher tied second among NHL rookies with two short-handed goals, the first Avalanche player with two short-handed tallies since Ryan O'Reilly did it in the 2009-10 campaign. The forward also recorded his first career multi-goal game when he scored twice against the Minnesota Wild on March 13.  

"It was nice to contribute tonight. It's been a little bit since I was had been able to get on the scoreboard," Compher said after the contest. "The first one, great play by [David Warsofsky] to get me the puck and both my linemates were driving to the net kind of threw the goalie off. And, we have talked about the power play, getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net, and the second one was just a result of that."

The second goal showcased Compher's strength as he was on his knees in the slot and was able to find a rebound from Samuel Girard's shot from the point and sent the puck past Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Video: COL@MIN: Compher scores from his knees for his second

He continued to put his abilities on display in the playoffs with three assists in the first five contests against the Nashville Predators.

It is not a surprise that the 6-foot, 193-pound left wing performed the way he did in his rookie season. He made his NHL debut on March 2, 2017 and recorded his first goal on March 15, 2017 in a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Pepsi Center.

"I played my first pro schedule [in 2016-17], but nothing really compared to an NHL year… Just making sure I am taking care of my body has been part of my growth," Compher told ColoradoAvalanche.com of what he learned during his first season with the Avalanche. "Trying to stay even keeled and consistent throughout my approach the entire year."

After a successful rookie campaign in the NHL and taking the time to put in hard effort into offseason training, Compher will look to make an even larger impression on the Avalanche in the 2018-19 season.  

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