First up, a proper goodbye to a long-time Avalanche player. John-Michael Liles was traded. That heartbreaking scream you heard might have been from
Beachie Cheryl. Liles was drafted by Colorado in the fifth round in the 2000 draft. He had brought quite a bit to the team over his seven year stint with the club, he tied for the highest grade given by MHH staff this year for his consistent play. Throughout his career he was plagued with trade rumors, and in true Avalanche fashion, we didn't know he was actually a trade target until the trade had been finalized. So, to you Hot Pocket, we say thanks for the memories.
The Toronto Sun talked to Tony Granato.
"I was a bit surprised, especially since the Leafs only gave up a second-round draft pick for him," Granato said during a crackly phone interview on Saturday.
"I think it’s a great pickup for Toronto."
Over the next few minutes, Granato, now an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, could not stop raving about the new Leaf defenceman.
Now onto the Draft results. After months of speculation, and preparation, Draft Day fell upon and left us with a few new prospects to draw from. The Avalanche had six picks in this years' draft.
First up, with the second overall pick, Colorado chose Gabriel Landeskog. He is a kid that I have seen in action, and I am pretty pumped about seeing him in Avs gear. I wrote about seeing him here. The news and updates about Landeskog have been flooding the internet since he was picked by the Avalanche. Like with Matt Duchene, only this time because of Peter Forsberg, Landeskog was an Avalanche fan. He is more of a tough and gritty forward than a flashy player. He has been known to get into fights and to try and intimidate the opposition, even after having scored a goal. In fact, that's why the Kitchener Ranger's went after him in the first place.
"He was in front of the net on the power play and he scored. He came by our bench, he had a full mask on, and he stared down our bench," Spott says, who was an assistant for Team Canada in 2009. "And he does that as an underage in a very competitive tournament.
"In the back of my mind I kind of said, ‘Who's that cocky Swedish kid?' When I got back to my hotel room I thought, ‘I'd better find out.' "
With their second pick, 11th overall, the Colorado Avalanche picked defenseman Duncan Siemens. Surprisingly, I randomly picked Siemens to feature in his own Cupcakes last week, you can find that here. The Avalanche seemed to have put tough players as an attribute they were searching for this year, because it keeps coming up.
NHL Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan
"He's a guy that is really tough to play against. Sometimes I think he over-does it, tries to do too much, but he's got all the potential. He can carry the puck, he's a tough kid -- he can fight. He's tough to play against. He can work both ends; he plays both the power play and penalty kill. He's just a solid, all-round defenseman."
The Avalanche didn't get another pick until the 4th round, with the 93rd overall pick the Avs drafted the forward Joachim Nermark. When looking at his stats you have to keep in mind that he mainly played with, and against, players that were older than him. The rare times that he did play within his bracket, his numbers were much better.
Anytime Nermark has played within his age group however, the stats tell the story. In 14 games with his Leksand J18 clubs, the swift-skating Swede potted 8 goals and 12 points in 2009-10. He also represented Sweden on the international stage, totaling 5 goals and 13 points in 12 games with the U17 team, and 6 assists in 13 games with the U18’s, and has a bronze from the World Under-17 Hockey Championships and a silver from the IIHF U18 World Championships to show for his efforts.
With their next pick, in the fifth round, the Avalanche picked Garrett Meurs 123rd overall. He is yet another hard-working player. He grew up on a farm, and as such, knows a thing or two about working hard.
"When I first saw him, he was a skinny kid who had a lot of speed and skill and raw talent," Vellucci said. "Now, he's committed toward improving on his size. He's been here three months since the season ended until school working out out five times a week with a trainer."
Moving forward, Vellucci said, "Strength is going to be the key. Physically and mentally maturing. To play at the next level he's going to have to put on 20 pounds."
With their 6th round pickm the Avs picked Gabriel Beaupre 153rd overall. This defeseman is another strong, physical player that fits with the Avalanche seemingly targeting these types of player this year. Gabriel's father is excited that his son will be donning the Avs logo, because he was a Nords fan before the move. Gabriel also confirms that the Avs are having a devellopment camp in mid-July.
"Je m’attendais un peu d'être repêché par l’Avalanche puisque mon agent, Marc Lavigne, m’avait informé que l’organisation s’intéressait à moi."
- I was expecting, in a small way, to be drafted by the Avalanche because my agent, Marc Lavigne, told me that the organization was interested in me.
Colorado selected Dillon Donnelly from Shawinigan in the seventh round. His father, Gord, played for three NHL teams including the Nordiques.