The Avs surprised a lot of people once again by passing up the bigger names for some lesser known ones. 2012 was a draft where teams had to do their homework because after the large amount of Ds at the top of the list, everything went every which way with no real standouts. The two players they picked from the WHL are exactly the type of players the Avs had to look long and hard for as neither had set their leagues on fire their draft eligible years (Smith was eligible last year) to stand out.
Troy Bourke, who many have mentioned in comparison to Zach Parise like player, has been a top scorer for years and one of the leaders on his WHL team (Cougars). Prior to being picked in the WHL Bantam Draft, he was the top scorer (83 points) and top goal scorer (45 goals) in the AMBHL. He would then go on to play in the AMHL and become the leading goal scorer there. While with Cougars, he would represent Canada on the U17 team where he outproduced Teravainen (18th overall), Laughton (20th),, Gaunce (26th), Matteau (29th), Winther (54th) and Stephenson (77th). He has shown that with proper talent he can not only produce but also be one of his team's (and league's) leaders.
Colin Smith was an undrafted player looking for a home this draft. Despite putting up great numbers that lead him to going 7th overall in the WHL Draft (just behind RNH, Rattie, McNeill), he was never able to solidify himself as an important piece of the Blazers and only went into last year's draft with one solid season. It didn't help that he was a smaller player and also about 2 1/2 months from being a 2012 draftee. With increased ice time and involvement, Smith would go on to being his team's 2nd leading scorer (72-35-50-85) and the WHL's 14th leading scorer this past year.
Because not every player has the exact same environment to grow and develop in, I have included a few players who were also successful prior to the WHL and how they compared to these two. I have also included smaller players like Eberle and Ennis as size will always be a concern but they both look to have very successful careers despite being smaller.
WHL 71-18-38-56 (draft year)
WHL 72-21-29-50 (original draft year)
WHL 70-43-48-91 (draft year)
WHL 70-42-33-75 (draft year)
WHL 70-32-49-81 (draft year)
WHL 67-28-51-79 (draft year)