The Colorado Avalanche have signed defenseman Nicolas Meloche and forward Jean-Christophe Beaudin to three-year entry-level contracts. The Avalanche were set to lose their rights had they not signed either player before the June 1 deadline. Given both prospects are among the top of their respective positions in the organization, it was no surprise to see these deals announced.
The 19-year-old Meloche is a stellar two-way defender who is currently playing for the Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) after a mid-season trade from the Gatineau Olympiques. He has registered 14 goals and 28 assists for 42 points in 55 games and is noted for his physical play. As a right-handed defenseman, Meloche’s expected leap to professional hockey next season will fill a great need for the San Antonio Rampage, who have lacked a natural right-handed defender all season. He was Colorado’s second-round selection (40th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Beaudin, who turns 20 just under three weeks from the time of this being written, has put up a 74-point season (28 g, 46 a) in 59 games played for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL). He’s a smooth forward who can play both center and right wing and will help replenish some of the expected forward graduations to the Avalanche next season. He was Colorado’s third-round selection (71st overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
With Meloche and Beaudin signed, the Avalanche still have decisions to make on whether or not to sign forward/defenseman Ben Storm (NCAA), defenseman Will Butcher (NCAA), and defenseman Andrei Mironov (KHL) to entry-level contracts this summer.