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31 in 31

Top prospects for Colorado Avalanche

Byram could make leap to NHL; Timmins, Kamenev eye healthy seasons

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Colorado Avalanche, according to


[Avalanche 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]


1. Bowen Byram, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 4 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Vancouver (WHL): 67 GP, 26-45-71

Byram (6-foot, 193 pounds) is a smooth skater with plenty of offensive upside. The 18-year-old has a good chance to play in the NHL this season, especially if Erik Johnson (shoulder surgery) isn't ready at the start. Ian Cole (hip surgery) isn't expected to be available until December.

"He's smart, his puck management is unbelievable, his poise, his patience, his offensive ability to see the play and read the play and make plays is exceptional," Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple said. "Everything is high-end. It seems like nothing bothers him. He's confident in his ability.

"Down the road I see him as top-two guy. He and Cale [Makar] can eventually be partners. I think he can play with anybody. He definitely skates well enough, he handles the puck well enough. Let's see how good of a summer he has, but anything is possible."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: Colorado Avalanche 2019-20 season preview


2. Conor Timmins, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 32 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Did not play (post-concussion issues)

Timmins (6-2, 184) was injured on a hit while playing for Sault Ste. Marie in an Ontario Hockey League playoff game in May 2018. He participated in Avalanche development camp in June after sitting out last season. If he is healthy, Timmins, who turns 21 on Sept. 18, will begin this season with Colorado of the American Hockey League.

"I think things are progressing well," Timmins said during development camp. "Obviously you don't know how things are going to go with this kind of injury so I'm just trying to take it day by day and work on getting better each day. I'm not officially fully cleared, but I'm just taking it day by day. We're trying to kind of wrap things up as we go."

Sound defensively, Timmins had 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) in 36 games and 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 23 postseason games with Sault Ste. Marie in 2017-18. He had five points (one goal, four assists) in seven games for Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


3. Vladislav Kamenev, F

How acquired: Trade from Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, 2017

Last season: Colorado: 23 GP, 2-3-5; Colorado (AHL): 2 GP, 0-1-1

Kamenev (6-2, 194), who turns 23 on Aug. 12, hasn't played in the NHL for an extended period because of injuries. He missed 52 games last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery and 50 games in 2017-18 because of a broken arm.

An excellent playmaker, Kamenev eventually will play in the bottom six. He's shown he can score in the AHL with 105 points (39 goals, 66 assists) in 146 games.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


4. Alex Newhook, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 16 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Victoria (BCHL): 53 GP, 38-64-102

Newhook (5-11, 195) will play his freshman season at Boston College after leading the British Columbia Hockey League in scoring and winning the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy as most valuable player. The 18-year-old will be challenged with better competition but has excellent speed and a quick shot.

"[NCAA hockey] is going to be a little bit tougher, but he's got the speed, the sense, the skill," Hepple said. "He's an offensive guy with the smarts that are just second to none. He's quick. That's the one thing you notice right away: He's fast, he's tough to contain down low. For him, it's maturity, finding that man strength, going to school and getting to that next level in his game."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


5. Martin Kaut, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 16 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Colorado (AHL): 63 GP, 12-14-26

Kaut (6-2, 180), should be more comfortable in his second season in North America, though he played against older pros in his native Czech Republic in 2017-18. The 19-year-old is a strong skater and hard to knock off the puck.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

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