Drafting Skills: Colorado Avalanche

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Colorado Avalanche

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Gabriel Landeskog (LW) 2nd overall – Landeskog quickly became the captain of the Avalanche, and a leader on and off the ice. He’s played more games than any other player in that draft class, and ranks first in points. A great player any team would love to build around, great pick by the Avalanche to start off the 2011 draft.

Round 1 – Duncan Siemens (D) 11th overall – Siemens on the other hand, did not pan out. He’s played all of 4 NHL games, after the Avalanche received this pick in trading out Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and their 2nd round pick in this draft to bring in Erik Johnson and Jay McClement. Siemens could barely crack the Colorado lineup this year, and they were by far the worst team in the league. That doesn’t bode well for the d-man, especially with so many better d-men taken after him.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to St. Louis in the Shattenkirk for Johnson package. The pick became Ty Rattie, who hasn’t materialized as of yet. Tough trade, as Shattenkirk is the better d-man today.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Islanders in a swap of picks, neither of which became anything. The pick after this turned into Vincent Trocheck… tough break for Colorado.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Washington for Semyon Varlamov, who has been the start in Colorado ever since. The problem is the pick turned into Filip Forsberg, who has become an elite winger in today’s NHL. The Avalanche needed a goaltender, but trading out the 11th overall pick when you’re in the midst of a rebuild wasn’t a smart move, regardless of who you brought in.

Round 2 – Mitchell Heard (C) 41st overall – Heard doesn’t look like he’ll be an NHL player, splitting time in the AHL and ECHL in recent years, and not putting up great numbers in the AHL. Colorado would like this pick back I’m sure.

Round 3 – Troy Bourke (LW) 72nd overall – Another player who has yet to play an NHL game, Bourke only scored 24 points in 74 AHL games. Not likely to see him in the NHL, as the Avalanche are on the cusp of adding better prospects to their cupboards.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nathan MacKinnon (C) 1st overall – MacKinnon is an elite centre, who can drive play. I’m still waiting for a breakout season offensively, and starting to wonder if it will happen. He’s just barely cracked 50 points in each of the past two seasons, which I believe is far below what he can do. He needs more support, but right now my confidence in him is still strong.

Round 2 – Chris Bigras (D) 32nd overall – Bigras split time in the AHL/NHL this year, putting up better numbers in the AHL. He’ll likely have a good shot at the NHL roster full time next year, especially with Colorado buying out Beauchemin. Good pick early in round 2 if he can make and stay with the NHL club this year.

Round 3 – Spencer Martin (G) 63rd overall – Martin had good numbers this year in the AHL, but struggled in his brief time in the NHL. It looks like he’s behind on the depth chart behind at least 2 netminders in Colorado, and could be 3 depending what happens with Vegas. It doesn’t hurt having promising goalies in the system, and Martin still has some upside.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Connor Bleackley (C) 23rd overall – Bleackley was traded to Arizona with Alex Tanguay and Kyle Wood (below) for Mikkel Boedker. He was then traded to Chicago for a 5th round pick, which will tell you everything you need to know about Bleackley. Awful pick by Colorado, when 2 years after the pick he’s being traded for a 5th round pick…

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Calgary for Reto Berra, and the Flames took Hunter Smith. Berra was nothing more than a backup, and Smith hasn’t materialized at all. The Avalanche would have been better off keeping this pick and trying to add to their prospect group.

Round 3 – Kyle Wood (D) 84th overall – Wood was dealt in the Boedker deal, and has yet to play an NHL game. He had good numbers as a first year pro, with 43 points in 68 AHL games so there is some great upside for the youngster.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mikko Rantanen (RW) 10th overall – He played the full year in Colorado this year, scoring 39 points in 75 games. He has tremendous upside, so it’s hard to judge this year based off of how brutal Colorado was. He scored 20 goals, which not many rookies do, therefore I anticipate a great sophomore campaign for him. He looks like a great pick at 10th overall, as he’s likely a big part of the future in Colorado.

Round 2 – AJ Greer (LW) 39th overall – Received this pick from San Jose in a swap of picks, none of which have materialized as of yet. Greer did make his NHL debut this year, which is a good sign he’s close to having a shot at making the team full-time. I expect a lot of changes for Colorado, so he’ll likely have a chance next year.

Round 2 – Nicolas Meloche (D) 40th overall – He finished his junior career, with 47 points (16 goals), in 61 games. Those are great numbers for a d-man, which bodes well for his future. He’ll start in the AHL, but could be quickly moving up the depth chart if he gets off to a good start.

Round 3 – Jean-Christophe Beaudin (RW) 71st overall – Beaudin had 30 goals and 80 points in 65 QMJHL games this year. He’s a big winger who can score with back to back 80 point campaigns in junior. Solid selection in the third round for Colorado, as they add another promising prospect to the cupboards.

Colorado has made great picks over these 5 drafts. They feel like they’re a team that’s not far off from being a playoff team, with help needed on the blueline. They have plenty of prospects and young players that can play, so with a couple smart moves they should be in good shape for a while.

Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

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