photo courtesy Rena Lavery, Plymouth Whalers
The Avalanche started the day by signing Canadian forward Matt Duchene to a two-year extension and then stuck with that approach, using all five picks today in the NHL draft to draft Canadian forwards from the CHL. The Avs have been very CHL oriented recently, having drafted just 3 players in the last 3 years from somewhere other than juniors. Organizationally, the Avalanche have quite a few prospects in the goalie and defense position, but were kind of thin up front. The Avalanche staff addressed that need today in a big way. Here are the Avs' picks:
- 2nd round. C Mitchell Heard, Plymouth (OHL). 6'1 190 from Bowmanville, Ontario. 57gp 29g 28a 57p 111 PiM. Wears #15
- 3rd round: LW Troy Bourke, Prince George (WHL). 5'10 180 from Onaway, Alberta. 71gp 18g 38a 56p 56 PiM, Wears #20. Bourke played with a couple of guys named Forsberg last year, which can only be a positive omen.
- 5th round. C Michael Clarke, Windosor (OHL). 6'0 184 from London, Ontario 68gp, 15g 21a 36p 81 PiM. Wears #17 (FYI his favorite team before today was the Red Wings)
- 6th round: C Joseph Blandisi, Owen Sound (OHL). 5'10 184 from Markham, Ont. 68gp 17g 14a 31p 72 PiM, wears #10. Markham is the hometown of a ton of people - Raffi Torres, Jeff Skinner, Steven Stamkos, Hayden Christensen, Ben Johnson and Emmanuelle Chiriqui to name just a few.
- 7th round: C Colin Smith, Kamloops Blazers (WHL), 5'10 172 from Edmonton. 72gp 35g 50a 85p 51 PiM wears #9
Heard is 20, having previously gone undrafted in the NHL draft (OHL also). Since he's a bit older, he could actually play in the AHL next season (assuming he signs with the Avs this summer) or could return to the OHL next year. The other players should all be back with their junior clubs next year, so today's draft doesn't have an immediate impact on either the Avs' roster or Lake Erie's roster.
As for long-term impact? Only time will tell.