Oskar Olausson is making a change to his development path. The Colorado Avalanche’s 2021 first-round pick is making the jump to North America after playing exclusively in Sweden to this point. And while Olausson, who signed his entry-level contract earlier this month, will likely be in training camp with the Avs, it is unlikely that he will play in the pros this season. Instead, the OHL’s Barrie Colts have announced that Olausson has signed with the team and the press release implies that they expect him to be on the roster this season.
Olausson, the No. 28 overall pick last month, was selected in the first round of the NHL Draft in July but actually slipped to Barrie in the second round of the CHL Import Draft in June. A top draft talent who played professionally for much of last season, including spending time in the SHL with HV71, most CHL teams likely felt that Olausson was not a realistic target to switch to the major junior route. The Colts’ gamble will pay off, as they add one of the best players of the draft class and arguably the best non-pro prospect that the Avalanche own. Olausson joins fellow first round pick Brandt Clarke (LAK) and recent overage selection Ethan Cardwell (SJS) on a Barrie roster that hopes to make waves in the OHL’s return to action.
A slick skater and creative offensive talent, Olausson’s ability is apparent. However, the 6’2″ winger also has size and adjusting to the North American game prior to being thrown into the pro fire could be a massive boost to his development. Olausson won’t be leaving Sweden behind entirely this season either; the top prospect is likely to star for his country at the World Junior Championships as well. If all goes well at NHL training camp, at the WJC, and in his debut season in the OHL, it may not be out of the realm of possibility that he lands in Colorado next season.