MileHighHockey has gone draft crazy lately, it's a good thing after the last half of the season. As such, it's no real surprise that it seeps into the Cupcakes. Today and tomorrow the Cupcakes are gonna be a look back at past Colorado Avalanche drafts. It isn't going to be full of links, just information on previous years' drafts. Today is between 2000 and 2003, and the Cupcakes have a special guest today, you'll be getting my Cupcakes with A.J.'s draft ramblings.
2000- What at first glance seems to be a promising year, Colorado didn't do so well. They had four picks in the first two rounds and they combined for a total of 116 games played. Kurt Sauer and John-Michael Liles both turned this draft year into a good one, however, both of these men are no longer with the Avalanche.
First Round- 14th overall - Vaclav Nedorost
Second Round- 47th- Jared Aulin
Second Round- 50th- Sergei Soin
Second Round- 63rd- Agris Saviels
Third Round- 88th- Kurt Sauer
Third Round- 92nd- Sergei Klyazmin
Fourth Round- 119th- Brian Fahey
Fifth Round- 159th- John-Michael Liles
Sixth Round- 189th - Chris Bahen
Seventh Round- 221st- Aaron Molnar
Eight Round- 252nd- Darryl Bootland
Ninth Round- 266th- Sean Kotary
Ninth Round- 285th - Blake Ward
A.J.'s Take: 13 draft picks. 13. When you draft 4 players in the first 63, you need to come away with at least one impact player. The Avalanche failed to do this in a pretty spectacular way. They did manage to salvage some quality out of this mostly painful looking draft with Sauer (who went on to have a pretty darn good career, right Cliff Fletcher?) and fan-favorite JML. This draft is an interesting look at how the Avs viewed their prospects back in that era of constantly gunning for the Cup as both Aulin (Blake trade) and Nedorost (in the Worrell deal) were both traded away in moves attempting to fill holes on the roster. After going unsigned and joining the Stars organization, Brian Fahey returned to the Avalanche organization back in 2009 when the Avalanche officially gave up on Nigel Williams and finally made his NHL debut in 2010 for the Washington Capitals, ten years after we originally drafted him.8th round selection Darryl Bootland did manage to rack up 85 PIM in just 32 career NHL games, so there's that. Solid middle round selections saved an otherwise embarrassing draft day effort by the Avalanche.
2001 The Avalanche didn't have a first round pick, so with their first pick they chose goalie Peter Budaj, that was some "build from within" with him, and it is looking like that is coming to a bitter end. The other players that made an impact were Cody McCormick (proving once again that Chia Pet can't have player jerseys) and Marek Svatos.
Second Round- 63rd- Peter Budaj
Third Round- 97th - Danny Bois
Fourth Round -130th - Colt King
Fifth Round - 143rd- Frantisk Skladany
Fifth Round-144th- Cody McCormick
Fifth Round- 149th- Mikko Viitanen
Fifth Round- 165th- Perre-Luc Emond
Sixth Round- 184th- Scoot Horvath
Sixth Round- 196th- Charlie Stephens
Seventh Round- 227th- Marek Svatos
A.J.'s Take: This is what I like to see. You aren't always going to score big in the draft but this effort produced three legit NHL players, all from different portions of the draft. Managing to scrape by without a first round pick (yay trades), the Avalanche managed to find a goalie with the 63rd pick who would go on to win 100 games for them, mostly as a backup. While Budaj's time does appear to have reached a sad ending, I'll always remember him for his professionalism, his cool mask designs (Assassin's Creed!), and his politeness to his goalposts. This draft produced nothing more on the NHL level until Cody McCormick in the fifth. Cody Mac1 would eventually be pushed out by the younger, not as good Cody Mac2 but his time in Colorado was capped with his best season being his final one in 2008-09. Marek Svatos in the 7th round remains one of the best late-round gems in the organization's history, as he burst onto the scene in 2005-06 with a 32 goal rookie season. This would be a career high for the 'Svats Machine' he remained relatively productive the rest of his time in Colorado when he was healthy. Anytime you get ANY production from a 7th round pick, you've done a good. Overall, this was a better effort for the team on draft day and, sadly, one of the better efforts of the decade.
2002- This year worked out so well for the Avalanche, only two players played more than one game in the NHL, neither of which for the Colorado Avalanche.
First Round- 28th- Jonas Johansson
Second Round- 61st- Johnny Boychuk
Third Round- 94th- Eric Lundberg
Fourth Round-107th- Mikko Kalteva
Fourth Round - 129th- Tom Gilbert
Fifth Round- 164th- Tyler Weiman
Sixth Round- 195th- Taylor Christie
Seventh Round- 227th- Ryan Steeves
Eight Round- 258th- Sergei Shemetov
Ninth Round- 289th- Sean Collins
A.J.'s Take: An overall disappointing effort from the Avalanche on draft day but was in kind of a funny spot in Avalanche history. This draft was towards the end of our days of putting "For Sale" signs in front of every prospect we drafted and was a precursor to the infatuation we would develop with PMDs later in the decade. The only two prospects worth a damn from this draft class both were traded away before ever seeing significant time with the Avalanche. Tom Gilbert ended up in the possession of the Edmonton Oilers in the fantastic trade for Tommy Salo (fml, seriously), which even at the time was a god awful idea and never once approached being worthwhile. Being fleeced by the Oilers...sigh. Johnny Boychuk became a bit of a lightning rod for discussion for Avs fans after watching him play in every game of the Boston Bruins recent Stanley Cup winning run. While it was easy to sit back and say, "HOW COULDDDDD WEEEE", people probably don't realize what a mediocre prospect Boychuk had become in the end of his Avalanche career. While initially exciting with a 32 point season on a bad Lowell team in 2005-06, Boychuk would only regress from there. Upon being traded for Matt Hendricks, Boychuk exploded in Providence with a 20 goal, 65 point season, annihilating career highs in all categories. This would help elevate him onto the Bruins roster, where he promptly returned to Earth and has been a mediocre 3rd pairing defenseman to the tune of 31 points in 121 games in Boston (for comparison, Ryan Wilson has scored 37 points in 128 games). Overall, though, this was a bad draft for the Avalanche as first round pick Jonas Johansson passed the 40 point plateau for the first time in his career just last season, scoring 23 goals in a 47-point campaign. For Cortina SG. In Italy. Nice.
2003- The Avalanche had a relatively small number of players drafted in this year. But it worked out alright for some of the players. Both Liffiton and Jones are still within the organization and Brad Richardson wore the Avalanche logo for two years.
Second Round- 63rd- Dave Liffiton
Fourth Round- 131- David Svagrovsky
Fifth Round- 146th- Mark McCutcheon
Fifth Round- 163- Brad Richardson
Seventh Round- 204- Linus Videll
Seventh Round- 225- Brett Hemingway
Eight Round -257- Darryl Yacboski
Ninth Round- 288- David Jones
A.J.'s Take: Another draft without a first round pick, another draft with an excellent late round find. While Brad Richardson has become an Avalanche killer after his trade to Los Angeles in 2008 and David Liffiton has become a bit of a fan favorite after a solid 4-game showing last season, this draft is all about the good doctor. David Jones, the 9th round pick from Coquitlam Express of the BCHL, has turned himself into a hell of a hockey player. Big, brittle, and scorer of the most awkward goals you will ever see, Jones remains on the Avalanche roster in a big (literally) way. A breakout candidate the last couple seasons, Jones finally broke through on the health side of things last season, playing in a previously unfathomable 77 games last season. He helped to pick up the slack lost with the trade of Chris Stewart and notched a career-high 27 goals in a 45 point season that many of us hope is just a sign of many great things to come. In a draft where your second pick comes 131 selections in, your expectations honestly aren't very high but when you nail the 288th pick of the draft, you've walked away a winner. For a draft without a lot of hope, the Avalanche certainly did well to land two solid NHL players in Brad Richardson and David Jones.
*Draft order was gotten off of HockeyDB.com