2010 Draft Preview: Back to the Future Part 1

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Luckily the Avalanche aren't finishing where most pundits predicted they'd end up, so we haven't been discussing this year's draft as much as last year's foray into top picks. A few of our avid readers have mentioned you appreciated MHH's draft coverage/previews last year, so here's a taste of what's to come this June 25th-26th in Los Angeles.

Last year's draft was a runaway success for our beloved Avalanche franchise. Calder candidate Matt Duchene and future Selke hopeful Ryan O'Reilly proved an unparalleled and immediate impact to a young Avs team in much need of scoring and reliable and responsible forward depth. The Avalanche's needs were obvious and addressed.

But with no early picks this summer, any draftee the Avs snatch up will most likely take a longer path to the NHL. So what will the Avalanche need down the road in a couple years? Let's take a look at some possible players (and positions) that would fit in with the stock pile of young talent currently tearing it up in the Avs system.

As was the case last year, the first three picks in the upcoming draft are pretty much locked - but not necessarily in a guaranteed order. And the picks feature 2 talented forwards and one big defenseman, just like last year. The top three skaters by most accounts are: offensive juggernaut Taylor Hall, gifted center Tyler Sequin, and Michigan born defenseman Cam Fowler (who is also Taylor Hall's teammate in the OHL). But who will be left by the time the Avs get their choice of the litter? The Avs look to finish between 10th and 15th in the standings this year, so their pick should land somewhere between the 15th and 20th selection. After last year's draft success (especially with latter, less obvious picks) I feel fairly confident that Sherman and Company will make an educated choice. Here's some of the players who may be available when the time comes and why they could fit in with the Avs' bright future.

DEFENSE  -  After adding a fine crop of talented offensive minded defensemen in recent years, it would behoove the Avalanche to add some tested toughness and grit on the back end. There should be a few GREAT options for the Avs should they go this route:

Jonathan Merrill

 US U-18 (NTDP)

Country: United States (but he is from the Detroit area...possible conflict of interest)

Height: 6'3"       Weight: 205 lbs      Birthday: 02/03/1992     Shoots: Left  

Scouting Report: Merrill is a big, stay at home defenseman, who plays very well positionally and brings a solid physical game. He is reportedly a very intelligent player as well, which would be a first on the Avs blueline. That's a joke. Sort of...

Dylan McIlrath

Moose Jaw (WHL)

Country: Canada, Manitoba

Height: 6' 5"    Weight: 215 lbs          Birthday: 04/22/1992     Shoots: Right

Scouting Report: An extremely tough in-your-face defenseman who likes him some fisticuffs (he already has a huge fan base because of his fighting prowess). He is also a safe play positionally and possesses an accurate shot. Plus, his name is pronounced "mackle-wrath" and his nickname is "the freight train from Winnipeg", which is awesome.

Mark Pysyk

Edmonton (WHL)

Country: Canada, Alberta

Height: 6' 1"       Weight: 175 lbs      Birthday: 1/11/92        Shoots: Right

Scouting Report: Pysyk plays a similar game to the Avs other young D prospects. He is a fast skater and moves the puck very well. He effectively moves the puck out of his zone and has a fantastic first pass up to his forwards. He can play big minutes and draws comparisons to Scott Niedermayer. He could break into the top ten as a pick.

Derek Forbort

US U-18 (NTDP)

Country: United States, Minnesota

Height: 6' 4.5"     Weight: 200 lbs       Birthday: 03/04/92

Scouting Report: A hulk of a man, he is also a very mobile skater with skill in both ends of the ice. He is also a fierce competitor (Trailor Arnason says, "huh"). He uses his size and strength well to manipulate opposing players and clear them out of the play.

My vote here would be for either Mcllrath or Forbort, one of the big boys who not only plays a tough ass physical game, but is also sound defensively. It would be like Ryan Wilson on roids and better defensively. Thank you sir, may I have another? Besides, I don't think Pysyk will be around by the time the Avs get their pick. And with Footer set to retire sooner than later, the Avs need a sound physical presence who isn't a liability.

 

GOALIES  -  The Avs don't have a lot of depth in goal down through the system, and with Anderson being no spring chicken, it would be wise to snag a quality goalie if available. Both of these successful netminders project to be franchise goalies someday if potential lives up to hype.

Jack Campbell

US U-18 (NTDP)

Country: United States, Michigan

Height: 6' 2"    Weight: 175 lbs     Birthday: 1/9/92     Catches: Left

Scouting Report: Top ranked goalie in 2010 draft by many accounts, Campbell won a Gold Medal backstopping the US team in 2009. He is far ahead of most young goalies mentally. Campbell boasts aggressive play, lightning fast reflexes, superb athleticism and a little "Roy-type" swagger. He could be a #1 goalie in the NHL in the next 5 years.

Calvin Pickard

Seattle (WHL)

Country: Canada, Manitoba

Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 200 lbs     Birthday: 4/15/92     Catches: Left

Scouting Report: By some accounts, Pickard is ranked even or ahead of Campbell. His positioning is solid and he has great rebound control. He gives up few soft goals and comes back nicely after being scored on - both signs of mental toughness in goal. He's played well for a bad team in Seattle. His older brother Chet (also a goalie) was a first round pick of the Nashville Predators, so the pedigree is intact too.

Either goalie would be a coup in the long run.

We'll take a look at the forwards later this week. Stay tuned.

 

 

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