The continuous tradition of the “rookie lap” was on full display prior to last night’s game.
“It was awesome. It felt like it took a while, but it was nice,” Avalanche forward Oskar Olausson said after making his NHL Debut on Wednesday night as the club dropped a 4-3 regulation loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The Avs’ 2021 first-rounder embraced tradition and fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing with the best of the best and enjoyed it.
“Of course, I was nervous and excited, but I enjoyed every second,” Olausson added.
The Sweden native noted that he, “Could do better” in growing his confidence and playing his game but remained steady on what he considered most important, team play, adding, “I wish we could have won the game.”
Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar was adamant following the morning skate media session, that Olausson’s NHL call-up wasn’t random. They earned it.
“He’s had some growth in his game,” Bednar said. “On the defensive side of the puck. On the offensive side of the puck. Watch him move, skate, shoot, handle the puck. Looks like a pro.”
The product of Stockholm logged 7:02 minutes in his NHL debut and skated alongside Alex Newhook and Evan Rodrigues in a top-six role, prior to Rodrigues suffering a lower-body injury which shook up Colorado’s line makeup.
Prior to earning his call-up with the Avalanche, Olausson played in 16 games with the Colorado Eagles in the AHL this season and recorded eight points (4G, 4A) in that stretch.
With the Avs facing an unfortunate rash of injuries, management has been tasked with replacing production on both halves of the ice.
Video: Oskar Olausson on his NHL debut against Vancouver
“You have to be a well-rounded player to play in the National Hockey League,” Bednar explained. “Whether you have the skillset or not. We require all of our guys to defend the right way and play hard defensively,”
Getting his chance after just turning 20 on Nov. 10th, it speaks to the type of player Olausson is and his “high ceiling” and the bright future to come. Bednar highlighted him being a “consistent contributor” with the Eagles and that this opportunity would be a chance to see his improvement since having a decent camp.
Following Wednesday’s game, Olausson was reassigned to the Colorado Eagles. Olausson was grateful and appreciated his chance. He knows that if he hones in on his craft, success will follow.