AVALANCHE

Avalanche name a Nazem Kadri replacement, at least for now

Oct 10, 2022, 4:14 PM
Alex Newhook...
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The biggest piece that hasn’t come back from last season’s Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche team is Nazem Kadri, who got a nice new contract from the Calgary Flames.

Kadri was the team’s second-line center and earned a trip to the All-Star game last season. He spent three years in Colorado, the best of which was last year when he played in 71 games, scoring 28 goals and adding 59 assists. In the playoffs, he scored 15 points in 16 games, fighting through a severe hand injury suffered mid-Cup run. Kadri’s primary assists, ranking in the 97th percentile of the league, how many shots he generates, and his skills on the rush and puck retrieval on the forecheck were what made him so good in Burgundy. On top of that, Kadri’s physical, intense, and aggravating game gave the Avalanche an edge.

So who do the Avs slide into Kadri’s massive role?

For now, it’ll be Alex Newhook, Jared Bednar said Sunday.

Newhook is a former first-round pick of the Avs who played his first full season in the NHL this past year. Playing in 71 games, Newhook scored 13 goals and added 20 assists. Newhook tacked on four points in 12 playoff games. The five-foot-10 21-year-old is a left-handed shot. One of his big issues, though, was a faceoff win percentage of just 35%.

Newhook was the 16th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, a class that already includes blossoming stars like Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, Bowen Byram, Moritz Seider, Dylan Cozens and Trevor Zegras.

Newhook gets the nod over J.T. Compher, another former top prospect of the Avs; the 27-year-old is entering his seventh NHL season and is in his prime. The six-footer is 27 years old and had similar stats to Newhook, scoring 18 goals and adding 15 assists in 70 games. Compher played in 20 playoff games, adding on eight points.

What’s interesting is just open Bednar was in saying that Newhook will have basically a three-quarter season tryout before the deadline to see if he can earn the role. If not, the Avs will make a move with their remaining cap space.

Newhook will make up the Avs skilled top-six forward group led by Nathan MacKinnon and complimented by Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen.

***

Avalanche

Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen...
Jake Shapiro

Colorado Avalanche could welcome back three key players in coming days

The Colorado Avalanche may have just lost their star forward to injury and did waive a former first-round pick, but there's good news
19 hours ago
Nathan MacKinnon...
Will Petersen

Hits keep coming for Avalanche as MacKinnon is now out significant time

The Avs announced on Tuesday night we won't see Mackinnon until early 2023, as he's expected to miss about a month with an upper body injury
3 days ago
Nathan MacKinnon...
Will Petersen

Latest Avs injury would be the biggest yet, MacKinnon exits in Philadelphia

It's unclear where exactly on his body MacKinnon is ailing, but he was in obvious pain and left the game in the first period on Monday night
4 days ago
Artturi Lehkonen...
Will Petersen

Avs lose another key player, Bednar thinks hit that hurt Lehkonen was dirty

On Saturday night Lehkonen was in front of the Boston net, when Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy body-slammed him to the ice
4 days ago
Mikko Rantanen...
Mike Evans

Avs are setting the standard for what other Denver sports team should be

On a Denver sports scene that is littered with poor play, poor coaching, poor ownership and poor culture, the defending Stanley Cup champs stand as a beacon on the hill
16 days ago
Mikko Rantanen...
Will Petersen

The best player in the NHL last week was Avs forward Mikko Rantanen

In just two games, Rantanen put up a ridiculous seven points, earning him No. 1 NHL Star of the Week honors as the Avs secured two wins
25 days ago
Avalanche name a Nazem Kadri replacement, at least for now