Avs draft history since 1995

This is a review of Colorado's draft history since they came to Denver in 1995-1996.  I analyze what I deem to be the team's successful picks as well as the oh-so-elusive "ones that got away".  

Something similar to this has probably been done before on this site, but I'm a bit of a newbie here so if there's been a post like this one in the past, I haven't seen it.  Since doing this was fun for me, I did it. 

Here is the scale I used to rate players (player ratings appear in parentheses after the player's name and all player ratings are just like my opinion, man):

5: Career depth player

4: Effective role player

3: Top-six forward/top-four defenseman/starting goalie

2: Top-line forward/#1 defenseman/upper-tier starting goalie

1: Hall of Fame potential

Got that?  OK, here we go:




Marc Denis (3), first round - 25th overall


The one that got away: 

Avs took Tomi Kallio ahead of Marc Savard in round 4.  Mikka Kiprusoff was drafted in the 5th round by SJ.




Mark Parrish (2.5), 3rd round - 79th overall

Dan Hinote (4), 7th round, 167th overall


The one that got away: 

The Avs took Yuri Babenko at #51 overall.  Zdeno Chara was drafted by the Islanders 5 picks later.




David Aebischer (3), 6th round, 161st overall

Ville Nieminen (4), 3rd round, 78th overall


The one that got away:  

There were no exceptional late round steals in this draft, but the Avs must have wanted a defenseman that year since they took Kevin "Grimey" Grimes in the first round.  Brian Campbell was later drafted 156th overall.  




Alex Tanguay (2) 1st round, 12th overall

Robyn Regehr (2) 1st round, 19th overall

Martin Skoula (3) 1st round, 17th overall

Scott Parker (4.5) 1st round, 20th overall

Philippe Sauve (5) 2nd round, 38th overall

Steve Moore (5) 2nd round, 53rd overall


The one that got away: 

I will never forget that Simon Gagne was taken 2 picks after Scott Parker.  Oh, what could have been...


Also, Scott Gomez was selected 7 picks after Parker and Brad Richards was selected 11 picks after Steve Moore.  Some clown named Pavel Datsyuk was selected in the 6th round, 171st overall.




Radim Vrbata (3) 7th round, 212th overall

Riku Hahl (5) 6th round, 183rd overall

Jeff Finger (4) 8th round, 240th overall


The one that got away:  

'99 wasnt' a spectacular year in general, but lots of teams missed on Ryan Miller (138th overall) and Henrik Zetterberg (210th overall).  The Avs passed on Martin Havlat in the first round and picked Mikhail Kuleshov 25th instead.  




John-Michael Liles (2) 5th round, 159th overall

Kurt Sauer (3.5) 3rd round, 88th overall


The one that got away: 

Vaclav Nedorost at 14th overall is probably  the Avs 2nd-worst draft bust.  They took Nedorost instead of a fair number of guys who would go on to become NHL regulars including Alex Frolov, Brad Boyes, Steve Ott, Justin Williams, and Niklas Kronwall (just to name the first rounders).  Just about everyone missed on Henrik Lundqvist, who was drafted 205th overall.  




Peter Budaj (3.5) 2nd round, 63rd overall

Marek Svatos (3) 7th round, 227th overall

Cody McCormick (5) 5th round, 144th overall


The one that got away:  

Another pretty thin year for top-end talent, and the Avs didn't have a first rounder.  Interestingly, Craig Anderson was drafted by the Blackhawks 10 picks after Budaj was taken by the Avs.  Ryane Clowe was drafted after McCormick, 175th overall.  




Johnny Boychuk (3) 2nd round, 61st overall


The one that got away:  

Colorado took Jonas Johansson in the first round, who went on to play in 1 NHL game.  Congratulations Jonas, you're the worst draft pick in Colorado history.  Duncan Keith was taken by Chicago 26 picks later.  




David Jones (3) 9th round, 288th overall

Brad Richardson (3.5) 5th round, 163rd overall


The one that got away: 

If '02 was a thin year, '03 made up for it with lots of good players, most of whom were drafted high in the 1st round like they should be.  Unfortunately, CO didn't have a first round pick this time around.  David Liffiton was drafted 63rd overall, one pick before Lord Jimmy Howard himself and 16 picks before Ryan O`Byrne.    




Wojtek Wolski (3) 1st round, 21st overall

Brandon Yip (4) 8th round, 239th overall


The one that got away:  

Mike Green was taken 8 picks after Wojtek "Nachos" Wolski.  Still, Wolski turned out to be a pretty good value pick at 21.  A number of guys taken before him have yet to even play in the NHL, and some never will.    




Paul Stastny (2) 2nd round, 44th overall (what a steal)

Kyle Cumiskey (4) 7th round, 222nd overall


The one that got away: 

Amazingly, Stastny wasn't even the Avs' first 2nd-rounder in '05.  They also drafted Ryan Stoa, Tom Fritsche, and Chris Durand in the 2nd round that year. A few guys who were taken after those three?  Kristopher Letang, Jonathan Quick, and Keith Yandle.  




Chris Stewart (2) 1st round, 18th overall.  Another very astute pick.  The guy picked right after him, Mark Mitera, had  3 points in 27 AHL games last year.  


The one that got away:  

Not many guys drafted in the 2nd round and later in '06 have made a huge impact yet in the NHL.  Cal Clutterbuck, whose game I like, was taken 13 spots after the Avs grabbed the esteemed Codey Burki at #59 overall. 




Kevin Shattenkirk (2) 1st round, 14th overall

Colby Cohen (3) 2nd round, 45th overall

T.J. Galiardi (3) 2nd round, 55th overall


The one that got away:  

About the only thing I might have done differently with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight would be to take Wayne Simmonds (2nd round, 61st overall) with the 49th overall pick instead of Trevor Cann.  Otherwise, the Avs continued their trend of quality drafting.   




Cameron Gaunce 2nd round, 50th overall

Mark Olver 5th round, 140th overall

Jonas Holos 6th round, 170th overall


The one that got away:  It's too soon to make a valid evaluation, but it's interesting to consider what might have been if CO hadn't given up their first rounder to get Foote back from Columbus.  Michael Del Zotto and Jordan Eberle were both still on the board when Philly (who acquired Colorado's pick from Columbus) drafted Luca Sbisa 19th overall. 




Matt Duchene (1) 1st round, 3rd overall

Ryan O`Reilly (2.5) 2nd round, 33rd overall

Stefan Elliott 2nd round, 49th overall

Tyson Barrie, 3rd round, 64th overall


The one that got away: N/A.  The Avs absolutely knocked this draft out of the park.  



Successes (as with anyone taken in 2008 and later, at this point if you're still a viable/interersting prospect, I consider you a success):

Joey Hishon 1st round, 17th overall

Calvin Pickard 2nd round, 49th overall

Michael Bournival 3rd round, 71st overall

Sami Aittokallio 4th round, 107th overall


The one that got away:  Way too soon to tell :-)


Conclusion:  The Avalanche have drafted very well since about 2004, and have a history of being a pretty good drafting team in general.  Although they haven't had a lot of high picks, and not every high pick has been a home run, the Avs have been able to find some diamonds in the rough during the later rounds to make up for it.  The up-and-coming Avs are now reaping the benefits of their astute drafting. is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of

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