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Making lots of progress

Avalanche prospect Oskar Olausson takes strides through squad’s AHL franchise

BY KYLE FREDRICKSON kyle.fredrickson@gazette.com

CENTENNIAL • Oskar Olausson has the wicked left shot worthy of an NHL roster.

The Colorado Avalanche are pushing his development into a complete player to make it happen.

Olausson, a smiling 20-year-old in the Avs dressing room, doesn’t hide from expectations as a first-round pick. The blond-haired Swede with improving English, after the first day of rookie camp, said, “Of course, I want to make the team.”

But no skipping steps.

Olausson just wrapped his first AHL season with the Colorado Eagles. The learning curve was evident with 11 goals and nine assists over 63 games played. His biggest takeaway?

“Obviously, the games, it’s way more than we play in Sweden,” Olausson said. “That’s a big difference. Getting used to that has been huge for me. I’m excited to play more games this year.”

Avalanche director of player development Brian Willsie remains bullish on his potential. They expect Olausson to be a leader at rookie camp, Willsie said, in addition to showcasing “that offensive pop” which led the Avs to select him No. 28 overall in the 2021 draft. The rest of his game will continue to develop in AHL play this upcoming season.

What must happen to make the NHL roster?

“That competitive edge and staying on pucks. He got a lot stronger. His testing was great (last week). Using that, using his frame over pucks, coming up with 50-50 pucks and making plays,” Willsie said. “We’ve seen improvement throughout the year last year.”

Olausson returned to Sweden over the summer and found a new trainer for mostly office workouts. He credited now former Eagles coach Greg Cronin with teaching “huge” details that Olausson can use “this year and be good defensively,” he said.

Olausson made his NHL debut in November in a single-game Avs home appearance against the Canucks; earning 7:02 in ice time over nine shifts with no registered stats. There’s no confusion over his next steps for a return to the lineup.

“Keep getting stronger and faster out there,” Olausson said. “Protect the puck better.”

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2023-09-19T07:00:00.0000000Z

2023-09-19T07:00:00.0000000Z

https://daily.gazette.com/article/282183655659539

The Gazette, Colorado Springs