BR staff decided to get together and make final predictions for how the draft will unfold and who they would like to see the Avalanche grab at the draft in Dallas. Let’s see if we get any correct!
1st Round: 16th
QJK: Grigori Denisenko is my choice. The Avs are in a position where they can go for a skilled forward with a high upside and Denisenko is as dynamic as they come. As a Russian it’s tough to predict where he will fall on draft day but the Avs should like his speed, skill and aggressive nature to give them a top talent as a potential top 6 scoring winger in the not so distant future.
Nathan: Joe Veleno: If this happens Avs fans should be very happy as Veleno not only fits the Avs well style wise but can form a dynamic 1-2 punch with MacKinnon for years to come.
Rudo: Joe Veleno. Initially I didn’t think Veleno would fall to us but as we move closer to the draft we are hearing more and more about guys rising up boards and Veleno starting to pop up at the 16 spot.
earl: I have a feeling that the board will look pretty bleak at #16. I hate all the safe guys so I’m going with Serron Noel, can’t ignore the upside and a bust here is real with anyone.
SeaMill: Going off of Bob’s mock Serron Noel. Don’t go with the safe guys, no need. Need to hit big with this pick IMO. Akil Thomas would be another one I would look at.
1st Round: 4th if Ottawa goes crazy
QJK: Filip Zadina is no question the hope at 4 as he is a dynamic goal scoring winger who has a very good chance to play in the NHL next year and a perfect fit for the Avs. Brady Tkachuk and Noah Dobson would be fine picks at that position as well.
Nathan: Filip Zadina: In the highly unlikely event Ottawa gives us the pick whoever is left of Zadina or Dobson should be the pick. With Montreal apparently not likely taking Zadina the Avs would get an elite winger who is NHL ready. Zadina has an elite shot to go along with his great skating and high hockey IQ. He’s passable in his own end but needs to work on rounding out his game. If the Habs pass on him and the Sens are dumb enough to give up this year’s pick you should be jumping for joy if we get this player.
Rudo: Filip Zadina. It really seems like Montreal is not going to pick Zadina and if the Avs end up getting 4 he is exactly what the Avs need.
earl: So much has to go right here and if it’s meant to be then having either Zadina or Dobson available for sure is just fantastic. Not sure which one I’d be more happy about, each path would be very interesting.
SeaMill: To be different I’m going to go with Tkachuk. Dude can step in immediately and be the power forward to learn from Landy. Zadina may be able to step in immediately as well but I think Tkachuk makes more of an impact year one.
2nd Round: 47th
QJK: Jakub Lauko. There’s s lot of personal favorites who will go off the board between 16 and this pick but one who stands a reasonable chance to still be available is Lauko. The speedy, skilled, hard working Czech winger would seem to fit the profile for an Avs pick.
Nathan: Ivan Morozov: The Avs haven’t drafted a Russian in the first two rounds for a long time but I’m hoping that ends this year, just not in the 1st round. Morozov is the Russian flying under the radar of the other big names but could easily be the best of the bunch. Morozov plays a very North American game and never takes a shift off. He also has a lot of skill which if developed properly could see him become a force in both ends of the ice.
Rudo: BPA. The Avs are in a very good spot to let this pick come to them and take whoever is on the board.
earl: He would have to be a faller but I’d like to see Nicolas Beaudin in this spot. Sure, he’s similar to Sam & Makar but this genre of defenseman is highly desirable and fits well with where the Avs are going organizationally.
SeaMill: Niklas Nordgren, Avs love them some Euros and he has some very solid numbers in Liiga though small. Avs reported to not worry about size, and this kid looks gooooood even if he is small.
2nd Round: 58th
QJK: Jakub Skarek. If the Avs want their pick of the high end goalies they might take one here. Skarek had a bit of a down year mostly due to some poor international showings but he’s big and has all the athletic tools, which the Avs seem to prefer. An extra pick in the second might make the time right to pull the trigger on a goalie high in the draft.
Nathan: Lukas Dostal: The Avs need for a high end goalie prospect is arguably their biggest need and drafting overage euros in the late rounds won’t change that. Dostal had a great year and while not being a giant he has good height at 6’1.5. While to me no goalie this year is worth a 2nd rounder or higher it’s close enough to get your guy before the goalie run happens.
Rudo: Draft For Need. Depending on what the Avs get with their earlier second round pick having another pick in the top 60 gives them some latitude to fill holes in their prospect pool. If they go with a D a 47 they can take a wing here or vice versa.
earl: I think if you’re going to take D then R2 is the place and a faller here would have value. The gigantic Kevin Bahl, Jett Woo from Moose Jaw, Jonny Tychonick, Avs perfecto and Junior A with Nicky Leivermann in Penticton, plenty more. They can’t all be gone.
SeaMill: Take a goalie here. I have no idea which goalies are going to be good and I’m sure they have their preferences so take a goalie here if the guy you like is still up for grabs. If not, then BPA
3rd Round: 78th
QJK: Allan McShane had borderline 1st round hype at one point and now falls to 71st on Bob McKenzie’s final list so grabbing this smart two-way center at this point in the draft is now a possibility.
Nathan: Chase Wouters: He just like Morozov is an extremely hard working two-way center who has a lot of untapped potential. Wouters is also a very versatile player who can play all three forward spots and play in any role. He took on the best night in night out and loved getting under the opponents skin. An extremely smart and high character kid.
Rudo: Goalie. While the 2nd round feels too early if you wait until the 4th you are likely to miss the run of the higher end crop of goalies.
earl: Kody Clark, son of former Nordique the great Wendel Clark. This is a need, which is fine because BPA is subjective. The Avs need to default to right shot forwards when possible.
SeaMill: I think they should take a serious look at Mascherin. Can step in to AHL immediately and looks solid. D would just get extremely solidified with very young good projected D.
4th Round: 109th
QJK: Alexander Khovanov would be a good chance to take at this point in the draft on a center with skill and upside who has fallen a bit out of favor missing half the year due to illness.
Nathan: Xavier Bouchard: He struggled this year to put up numbers but in the 4th round if he’s there you easily take the chance on his size and skill combo hoping he goes back to his rookie year where he garnered 1st round hype. The son of a coach he’s a very driven kid. Potential steal of the draft.
earl: Alexis Gravel. Like a lot of this goalie class he had a down year but I’m betting on Jussi Parkkila working with the talent and the Avs staff getting him physically ready over the next 2 years. Not European, not an overager. It’s just crazy enough to work.
5th Round: 140th
QJK: Logan Hutsko checks all the boxes the Avs look for to find value as an overage NCAA player who overcame injuries to have a breakout freshman year for Boston College. He’s a small, speedy right wing who has reputation for being a fearless hard worker.
Nathan: Ryan O’Reilly: A familiar name to Avs fans, O’Reilly is a big winger with a great shot and plays with some edge. Like his name sake skating is a weakness, so much so it’ll likely hold him back from the show but this late in the draft you bet on the other parts of his game and hope to fix the flaws enough to get a player.
earl: Riley Sutter from Everett, and yes it’s that Sutter family. Another right shot RW and big too.
6th Round: 171st
QJK: Mathias Emilio Petersen had a lot of hype before the USHL killed his offense. Avs can do worse than add another Norwegian and DU commit to their stable. A skilled center/winger with upside still.
Nathan: Liam Kirk: He is another big winger but is a relative unknown to most as he’s from and played in England. Given our head scout is from there and the Avs were one of the few teams to interview him at the combine he’s a possible late round target.
earl: I’m just going to ditto what Nathan said about Liam Kirk. He’s British, supposedly talented and playing in the CHL next year. Should be a great story if nothing else.
7th Round: 202nd
QJK: There’s bound to be a few surprise CHLers still on the board at this point so hopefully the Avs grab one of them here. Surely some Russians from the QMJHL will be on the board as well, big winger Vladislav Kotkov would be a nice find at this point in the draft.
Nathan: Alexis Girard: He is a big bruising defender who had a great year on a brutal team. He’s someone who is likely to be under scouted so he could go undrafted but a smart scout who’s seen him play should recognize this late bloomers talent. He was a rock on a shaky blue line and has the potential to be a solid 3rd pairing guy. In the 7th you definitely take that.
earl: Jack Hoey, this one’s a little off the board but he’s eligible and attending Colgate University next year so I have another excuse to watch. Killed it at Choate in HS and drafted by both the Tri-City Storm and the Quebec Remparts.