I vaguely recall the last time Colorado had a pair of 1st round picks. It was 8 years ago and we were coming off a mind-numbing last 40 games where they lost every night by 7 goals or at least it felt like that. Salvation was the goal then, last night it was about adding on to an already solid depth chart and the Avs staff killed it by selecting Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook.
Once I find a prospect I like I start rooting for him. It’s a weakness and a reason that I leave most of the draft eligible coverage to Rudo and QueenJK here on the site. This year Byram caught my eye and however the standings and lottery chances fell with Ottawa’s situation I found ways to rationalize the Avs ending up with him in the 1st round. Until Joe Sakic stepped to the podium last night and said “From the Vancouver Giants…” there was a lot of anxiety about how this would play out.
Byram could end up being the final key piece to another Avalanche dynasty. It’s not he alone but along with Sam Girard and Cale Makar the blueline is something they hopefully shouldn’t have to worry about until the 2030’s. Taking a more realistic view, those three players have turned what’s been a major flaw in the organization for the last 10-15 years into a strength. I know many were hoping for a dynamic scoring forward but we’ve seen time and time again talented scorers sabotaged by the org’s lack of ability in the D-Corps. We’ve also seen Joe Sakic and Craig Sherman before him try in vain to build a solid blueline outside of drafting and fail. With the Ottawa pick this was the right time to add to a strength and give us a shot at seeing a championship calibre defense like in the dynasty years.
I really didn’t think Alex Newhook would be available at #16 and I definitely didn’t see the Avs having a choice between he and Payton Krebs there. In our BR draft chat on Thursday evening we all speculated that the Avs would need to move up a few spots to get into the range where those players would be found. No sir. Sakic let the draft come to them as usual and boy did it pay off. There were great cases to be made for either Newhook or Krebs and ultimately the staff went with more dynamic offensive tendencies over a more solid 200-foot player. I can’t argue with the reasoning and Newhook is a player we’re all going to love.
There’s plenty more to come this afternoon in rounds 2 through 7 and full analysis of it all in the coming days and weeks but this was a fantastic start.
- Potential top-pairing defenseman – check
- Potential dynamic scoring 2C – check
Congrats to Byram and Newhook on joining the organization and to the Amateur Scouting Staff and Joe Sakic for putting together a solid first round. Now let’s get some more.