Thanks to the over 80 of you who voted in our poll! We combined your votes and the writers’ votes and our Top 25 Under 25 countdown begins today:
#25: RYAN COLLINS
25th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: Not Ranked (28th)
Readers’ Vote: 23rd
Highest Placement: 5th (2 votes)
Most Common Placement: 15th (5 votes)
Birthdate: May 6, 1996
Birthplace: Bloomington, Minnesota
Weight: 212 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 2 of the 2014 draft (#47 overall)
After 10 assists and 0 goals in his rookie season in Cleveland, Ryan Collins had 3 goals to go with 6 assists in his sophomore effort. His +/- improved from -20 to -3 (I know it’s not a great stat, but without reliable Corsi data for the AHL it’s the closest we have). For more on Collins we turn to Elaine Shircliff, who watched him play all season:
During the regular season, Collins was quite inconsistent. Some games he would throw the opposition out of the crease and force turnovers. Other times Collins would be the reason why the other team scored due to him being out of position or because he missed his man.
The Calder Cup Playoffs were a different story. Collins deserves to be in the Top 25 Under 25 based solely on his performance in the playoffs. The stat sheet has him at 1-0-1 over the course of eight postseason games. However, this stat only tells a small piece of the story. Collins was a solid defender in every game. Less than a handful of mistakes were made during the Monsters playoff run. He embraced the role of a “true defender”. Collins cared less about how many points he could score. More thought was put into breaking up rushes towards the net and not allowing opponents out of the neutral zone. Watching Collins annihilate forwards attempting to leave the neutral zone was a thing of beauty.
When his defense partner, Doyle Somerby, was suspended for a game during the Toronto Marlies series, I was worried about how Collins would play. Typically Collins’ play is elevated by Somerby. They compliment each other quite well on the ice. Collins shocked me by taking on a leadership style role.He communicated more with his teammates about what they could be doing better and was a part of the “pump up” squad. The energy Collins emitted became infectious on the team.
This is a big season for Collins, entering the final year of his ELC. He is arbitration eligible next summer as well. His path to the Blue Jackets roster appears to be steep, with four players battling in camp for the sixth defenseman position. It would take an epidemic of injuries within the top 9 to give Collins a shot this season. That being said, he does have an opportunity to play a bigger role with the Monsters. Can he build on last season’s playoff run? Elaine adds “Personally, I hope playoff Collins makes an appearance in the regular season. The Monsters could use a guy like him all the time.”