Weight: 197 lbs
Hometown: Winnepeg, MB
Current Team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Drafted: 49th overall in 2010
Heading into the 2010 draft, Pickard was ranked as the top North American goaltender according to Central Scouting Services. Jack Campbell and Mark Visentin were the two goaltenders selected before the Winnepeg native. Lacking a serious goaltending prospect, the Avalanche were quite content to scoop up the netminder (they would later take goaltender Sami Aittokallio in the fifth round) with their second round selection. His older brother, Chet, was a first round pick of the Nashville Predators back in 2008.
Avalanche fans caught their fist glimpse of Pickard at rookie and training camp this past September. While he looked shaky and tentative at times, it was not difficult to recognize his talent and potential. He is positionally sound and allows few "leaky goals." The key to his performance is his strong rebound control. He manages to fill out the net well despite not being an enormous goaltender.
After participating in his first professional camp, Pickard was returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds. While the Portland Winterhawks, as expected, are running away with the US Division, Seattle has a respectable record of 11-6-3-4 (after 24 games). Pickard has started all but two games for the Thunderbirds this season. Entering Tuesday’s game against the Medicine Hat Tigers, Pickard has a goals against average of 2.66 and save percentage of 0.930. His GAA is 8th best in the WHL and his save percentage is currently ranked third.
While Pickard is aiming to return Seattle to the WHL postseason, he also has another goal in mind...that’s to reclaim gold for Canada in the up coming World Junior Championships (WJC). Pickard was one of four goaltenders (and 39 players) invited to attend Canada's National Junior Team selection camp; which takes place in the second week of December. From this group of players, Hockey Canada will piece together a roster that will compete in the 2011 WJC in Buffalo, NY.
Avs fans will get a good look of Pickard on the international stage in a few weeks, but don’t expect him to be suiting up for the Avalanche in the near future. Pickard will likely play in the WHL through the 2011-12 season before turning pro and spending some time in the American Hockey League.