Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25: No. 10 (hardback) Logan O’Connor

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration between members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight authors added players under the age of 25 to the ranking on August 1, 2021 Colorado avalanche organization. Each contestant used their own metric of current skills and production versus future forecast to rank each player. Now we’re counting down each of the 25 ranked players.

Since we are in our top 10 with our T25U25 series, we actually have a tie. Both Jean-Luc Foudy and Logan O’Connor shared the vote and received the same number of points. You can also read Foudy’s profile today. Here, however, we’re going to be looking at O’Connor, who appears to be a full-time player with the Colorado Avalanche this season.

O’Connor was an undrafted player and the oldest player on this leaderboard. In fact, he wouldn’t even have qualified in the vote two weeks later, as he turned 25 on August 14. Still, O’Connor makes one last appearance on our top 25 list. He debuted in 2019 and just snuck in when he was 25. He has since made a name for himself in the Avs organization and now wants to take the final step towards becoming a regular player in the NHL.

Precedence

In this exercise, O’Connor’s rankings varied perhaps more than any other player. That makes it a very interesting case study. Some people had it in their T1O, except for sixth place. This is likely because of how NHL ready he is. So far, these articles have featured very few players that fans would expect to see in the NHL this season. However, O’Connor has played 22 and 16 games with the Avs in the last two seasons.

Others have it lower because ultimately it seems its upper limit. O’Connor is a solid deep figure, but at 25 it would be shocking if he became much more than an effective fourth line player. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However, it will keep him lower in some people’s rankings. Personally, I had him in 12th place, right in the middle. The fact that O’Connor has a legitimate chance of playing a few meaningful minutes for a team that has Stanley Cup hopes this season needs to be noted. However, when it comes to him and higher upside prospects, O’Connor is unlikely to be part of this organization’s long-term plans like others higher up on this list.

His game

Logan O’Connor has taken a chance over the past few years. Although he was not drafted at all, he stuck with his hockey career. After three seasons at the University of Denver, he made it to the Colorado Eagles in 2018/19. O’Connor had an explosive year, scoring 42 points in 64 games. He even worked for the big club and played five NHL games that season.

In 2019-20 he then had 25 points in 40 AHL games and was rewarded with another 16 games at the big club. He had two goals during that time. Last season, O’Connor played in the Avs line-up, playing 22 games, scoring three goals and two assists during that time. He was a decent player in the bottom six who cannot be relied on to score a lot of goals. However, his possession game was incredibly strong. Like many of the Avs players, the Avalanche controlled the game while it was on the ice. In fact, O’Connor’s possession values, especially defensively, have been incredibly strong last season.

Ice hockey in transition

Note that this is a very small sample size. 200 minutes is not much on the whole. Regardless, the piece O’Connor saw was very encouraging. If he could score half as fast in the NHL as he did in the AHL, he’d have a long career in the bottom six with those numbers.

It will be interesting to see what role O’Connor plays in the coming season. Under no circumstances does he have a guaranteed place and has to earn it in the training camp. The Avs currently have 12 NHL strikers under contract, not including O’Connor, Foudy, Martin Kaut or Alex Newhook. Other names O’Connor will wear at camp include Kiefer Sherwood, Stefan Matteau, Darren Helm, and even Mikhail Maltsev.

O’Connor should have the upper hand with some of these guys, but certainly not all. Newhook and Kaut’s blankets will certainly put him at a disadvantage. The big question, however, will be, do the Avs want to use any of them on the fourth line? It seems reasonable for them to play with more experienced players in the lineup, which may leave O’Connor a seat open.

Anyway, it’s hard to see he’s not with the big club. Even if he starts as 13th or 14th striker, he will work his way up to the line-up at some point. Be it one after the other or due to injuries.

Go forward

It’s unclear what future O’Connor has with the Avalanche. If he can prove to be a useful and reliable player this season, he could find his way into their plans for the final six. Especially when he can continue to be an effective and responsible player defensively.

However, he has to take every chance he gets this year. At 25, at least at the big club, he ran out of chances. The Avs are in win-now mode and when they feel the depth can be improved they will. O’Connor has to show that he is a core piece of the deep. Regardless of the fact that we’ll almost certainly see him sometimes this year, he’s ranked 10th in our top 25 under 25.

T25U25

# 12: Justus Annunen

# 13: Oskar Olausson

# 14: Shane Bowers

#fifteen: Drew Helleson

# 16: Sean Behrens

# 17: Mikhail Malzew

# 18: Alex Beaucage

# 19: Trent miner

# 20: Colby Ambrosio

# 21: Dennis Gilbert

# 22: Daniil Zhuravlyov

# 23: Tyler Weiss

# 24: Nikolai Kovalenko

# 25: Nick Henry

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