There isn’t a catchy acronym for Logan O’Connor’s method, from undrafted free agent out of the University of Denver to protected and appreciated Colorado Avalanche energy player, fresh three-year contract extension in hand.
There’s some security, and that’s not nothing. But the day after his extension was announced, O’Connor said it’s still: “Hunt or be hunted.”
“That's sort of what’s gotten me to this point in my career -- not being complacent, constantly pushing myself day-to-day, learning from guys, being a student of the game, asking lots of questions,” O’Connor said.
“CPLSA.” It has workshop potential.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar referred to a 3-on-3 scrimmage at a development camp in Loveland years ago. Alongside Colorado draft picks, he said O’Connor was the best player on the ice.
“He's done everything in his power to get to this point,” Bednar said. “There's nothing that tells me this guy’s going to slow down or not continue to get better.
“If he pops, we know we got a real good deal. If he stays where he is, I think it’s still a good deal.”
O'Connor didn't start the 2020-21 season with the Avalanche but drew praise once he cracked the lineup. He dove down the ice after pucks, forechecked consistently and pestered opponents.
He finished with 3 goals and 2 assists, missing the last 21 games of the season due to injury. He returned late in Colorado's playoff run.
“Hopefully produce a little more with my opportunities,” O’Connor said of the future. “I felt as though I created a decent amount of turnovers last year on the penalty kill as well, so trying to capitalize on a few of those as well will be huge if I want to have a breakout season this year.”
Colorado protected him from the expansion draft. Learning of that was a cool moment, O’Connor said. The extension on the eve of training camp made the commitment official.
It kicks in next season and runs through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $1,050,000, per CapFriendly.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to call Denver home for –- this will be my seventh year now, between DU, the Eagles and here,” O’Connor said. “That plays a big part. The fans, the city I love. It’s my home away from home now. I stay here year-round.”
He could be the only holdover on his line this fall. The bottom two lines are in flux with career Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm a solid candidate along with Mikhail Maltsev, a trade acquisition.
O’Connor compared 34-year-old Helm to Benjamin Button, a fictional character who ages in reverse.
“He’s just flying,” O’Connor said.
Whoever he's with, the plan is to develop his game. Keep hunting.
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