The Colorado Avalanche are proud to select...
That is something we will hear when the Avs draft with their first pick. Like their recent announcements of who they like, the Avs will be very vocal when announcing their pick. But not so much with picks from rounds 2-7. From the second round on the Avs will be much more tight lipped and will be looking to nab some quality players especially with their very early second rounder. They have the opportunity to draft a high quality player at #32 that would possibly go top 15-20 in most other drafts.
In the previous IPWT article, I looked at how the Avs have drafted lately and where they have found success. Most have come from the OHL (especially forwards) with the WHL having a large representation...especially in regards to defensemen. Players from the US form the next group with some sprinkling of QMJHL and non-North American players. A few things (including Roy's input) may see an increase in the number of Q and Overseas players the Avs draft.
The first is that this a is a strong draft for QMJHL players. Taking the fact the Q boasts a nice collection of quality 2013 prospects and that the NHL Lockout kept some of the past draftees in the Q, make the accomplishments of such players like MacKinnon, Drouin and Fucale that much more impressive. Then you have the rest of the 2013 prospect group (which is heavily represented by Roy's Remparts) that had good if not great seasons. The Q wasn't the push over this year that a lot seem to think the league can be at times.
On the other side of the ocean, we are seeing the NHL work with the overseas leagues to lock in "player rights" for up to 4 years. Recently we saw rights fall in line with Canadian Juniors which unfortunately became an issue. Countries & leagues overseas develop and handle players usually much different than the ones in North America. This can make things very hard for who to draft and also who to sign. With the change, we could see more drafted players from outside North American leagues and possibly even higher than normal.
The Avs have a quartet they like at the top. We know that and everyone else knows it. Bob McKenzie released his draft list with Nathan MacKinnon going first overall. He has been correct in picking the first overall in the previous 9 drafts. He has also been very good at picking the players that go in the first round. He has seen only about 3-5 players in his top 30 NOT go in the first round over the past many years. Pracey also feels that one of their top 20 or so may be available at the 32 spot. Since we have a good idea what direction the Avs may go with their first pick, lets take a peek at McKenzie's list and the players from 15 through 39 (25 players) and where they rank and who the Avs may be eyeing.
McKenzie's draft list 15-30:
Anthony Mantha F QMJHL
Mirco Mueller D WHL
Sam Morin D QMJHL
Curtis Lazar F WHL
Zach Fucale G QMJHL
Adam Erne F QMJHL
Kerby Rychel F OHL
Frederik Gauthier F QMJHL
Ryan Pulock D WHL
Andre Burakovsky F Sweden
Valentin Zykov F QMJHL
Ryan Hartman F OHL
Robert Hagg D Sweden
Josh Morrissey D WHL
Jacob De LaRose F Sweden
Morgan Klimchuk F WHL
31-39: Jason Dickinson F OHL; Chris Bigras D OHL; Nic Petan F WHL; Michael McCarron F US; JT Compher F US, Madison Bowey D WHL; Laurent Dauphin F QMJHL; Ian McCoshen D US
I won't go into each one individually as not only did Pacifier Night put together a solid collection of info in his posts but also McKenzie has his list with insight. What I want to do is pick a few players from that list the Avs are likely to focus on for the 32nd overall pick (I will profile options for rounds 3-7 in IPWT Part 3). When drafting high, the Avs have actually stayed somewhat to more mainstream higher rated players but I still feel there are a few players listed outside McKenzie's top 39 that they may have an eye on...especially with their 3rd rounder. Those players are detailed after the ones pulled from the 15-39 group.
16) Mirco Mueller. All eyes may have been on the goal scoring winger Mantha but it is Mueller that is first off McKenzie's list to be one to watch. Mirco is a tall and lanky defenseman out of the WHL who plays a smart two-way game. While not likely at the top of the Avs list (of players from this group), Mirco still is one to watch.
17) Sam Morin. Get your Hulk pics ready...Morin is a HUGE physical D from the Q. He is also a project. He projects as a defensive D but he has a lot of work to be an NHL D. Outside of his size, there is a lot more risk with him than others on this list.
18) Curtis Lazar. Hardworking forward out of the WHL. The Avs like their hardworking two-way forwards out of the WHL and Lazar is another one likely high on their list. He is a jack of all trades and likely with the potential of O'Reilly back in 2009. One to watch for sure.
19) Zach Fucale. Memorial Cup winning goalie from the Q. The Q used to be a hotbed for goalies but has cooled over the years. Fucale is likely all over the place on draft lists. He's a risk as a first rounder with so many quality forwards and Ds expected to be available but he still offers the potential of being a starting goalie. Does not play a flashy game.
21) Kerby Rychel. The name may ring a bell because of his father's ties to the Avs. Wasn't expected to have as much success as he had in his career so far in the OHL. He plays as a scoring winger with a power game. He is one of the bigger "name" players in this group but also one the Avs may pass on if they covet the higher skilled players that could be available.
26) Ryan Hartman. Like Rychel above, Hartman plays as a Power Winger and with even more "sandpaper" to his game. He is very very feisty and the Avs love those types of players (Downie, Heard, etc). He could see his offense translate as a top 6 forward but he is a safe bet as a quality top 9 forward. Something along a Downie role/production.
28) Josh Morrissey. More than likely higher on many teams' draft lists than McKenzie's but still one to watch for sure. Josh is a highly regarded offensive D out of the WHL. While not small, he is also not big. He is a skilled high end D who could develop into a good two-way D because of his skating and smarts. Likely a pro in the Jack Johnson mold.
30) Morgan Klimchuk. Rounding out the top 30 list is a player the Avs may love to have on Duchene or MacKinnon's wing in a few years. He's a fast and hard working player who plays an uptempo game. His numbers have been good despite playing on a terrible team. He is a player who plays a good all around game who can turn it on if asked to play a more offensive role.
33) Nic Petan. A name that is well known. Not just because he is Seth Jone's teammate but because he tore apart the WHL this season. The W is no push over and to come in and produce better numbers than RNH did his draft year makes people take notice. What also makes them take notice is his 5'9" height. There is no doubt about his high skill level and success as first line center for Portland but his size will see him all over the place on draft lists. Something of a Hishon like prospect (hopefully without the concussion).
38) Laurent Dauphin. Likely a 3rd round option for the Avs, Dauphin is still a quality option at #32...in most other drafts. He's a great skater with great skill. He is late to the media scene but still has a good "career pedigree" that the Avs will take note of. This looks like a third round Avs pick like Bournival in his draft year.
39) Ian McCoshen. Rounding out the top 39 for McKenzie is a highly regarded two-way D who may settle in as a defensive D in the NHL. He is excellent in his own end and plays a smart game at both ends. Loads of leadership and size. He is also very young and could push 6'4" & 225 lbs as a pro. Was a star D for Shattuck when MacKinnon and Taylor Cammarata (possibly 3rd or 4th rounder for the Avs) played there.
Darkhorse Candidates for 32nd overall:
Dillon Heatherington: a mobile defensive D out of the WHL
Jordan Subban: a small yet highly skilled offensive D. Brother of PK.
Ryan Kujawinski: great skating big center from OHL who had a down year.
Shea Theodore: young great skating offensive D. High risk at 32.
and finally the players Patrick Roy may have heavy input on because they are from his Remparts:
Adam Erne: Highly rated fast power winger who has put up 56 goals in his Q career.
Anthony Duclair: smaller speedy & skilled forward who had a down year.
Nick Sorensen: Lanky forward who had a good first year and huge playoffs with 7 goals in 8 games.
There you have some of the players to keep an eye out for the Avs 32nd overall pick... and maybe even a few that could be there in the 3rd round for the Avs... to join names such as Taylor Cammarata, Jeremy Gregoire, Connor Rankin (and others who could be in the Avs sights for rounds 3 through 7). Part 3 will take a look at options for rounds 3-7 and will include looks at 2012 Camp invites JC Lipon & Alex Gudbranson. Both undrafted players who are eligible for the 2013 draft.