Draft 2014: At #23, Avs Select Conner Bleackley UPDATED

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

To no one's major surrise, the Avalanche pick a gritty, 2 way center

In  round 1 (we don't pick again until the third round, barring trades), the Avs have chosen Conner Bleakley.  Averaging nearly a point per game last season (39a, 29g, 68p), he fits the Rick Pracey mold, of gritty, determined, 2-way forwards.  Its honestly about what many of us suspected would happen.

There were several big names still on the board, like Mcann, Sherbak, and Pastrnak, but the Avs obiously have been tracking Bleakly for a long time, and like what they have seen.

The next pick we have is tomorrow in the third, pick 84.

What do you all think about this pick?

EDIT:  Here is some more info on our 1st rounder:

At 18, Conner Bleakley is looking to be a pretty safe bet to make the NHL.  As I said before, he is cut from the same mold as Ryan O'Reilly:  best point-getter on a team that finished just outside the playoffs.  Overall, he finished 40th in the WHL in scoring, which is quite a jump from his previous two years.  In his first seasons, he just got his feet wet, scoring 2 points in 16 games his WHL Rookie year, and 18 points in 66 games his sophomore year.

Scouts agree that Bleackley's puck intelligence is strong, and that he prides himself on being responsible at both ends of the ice.  According to Alex Busch, Conner models his game on David Krejci's, which would be kinda nice to have as a tool on the Avs.

Bleacher Report has a really good article on the guy, and they quote a lot of the same sources that I have found.  Reading his history and resume like that, its not surprising at all that the Avs have actively pursued him from day 1.

Elite Hockey Prospects had this to say about the lad a few months ago:

Bleackley is a nice blend of size, skill and speed. He's strong and balanced on his skates, uses his size to his advantage and has a very good shot with his quick release. He finds lanes and soft zones well and has quick hands in tight spaces

Brenden Ross from Dobber Sports has some nice things to say about him, too:

As Rebel’s Captain, Bleackley is a diligent attentive forward capable of contributing in all three zones. His strong character, trust-worthy defensive acumen and non-stop motor earn him plenty of opportunities. Producing at over a point-per-game pace, Bleackley has shown sound offensive skills but he’s fairly average in that department and his skating could stand to gain another gear. Bleackley projects as a versatile energy forward with admirable intangibles capable of playing in a top-six role.

Conner Bleackely also has a twitter account; both Landeskog and Duchene welcomed him on it when he was drafted.

So, there it is.  It seems like our whole team will be built out of guys like this, which doesn't really bother me.  The existing locker room culture is going to immediately welcome him; he'll be surrounded by guys playing a bit above their capability level.  Man, I hope that we lock down O'Reilly for years to come; between him and Landy, they will give this kid the exact role models that he needs to succeed.

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