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2009 Colorado Avalanche Draft Preview



The 2008-09 season proved to be one full of turmoil for the Colorado Avalanche.  Injuries and poor offseason acquisitions led to sweeping changes at the end of the season.  As Colorado reshuffled their management and coaching staffs, the team emerged with the third overall pick in the draft.  It may be several years before the Colorado Avalanche return to their former glory, but the decisions they make this weekend in Montreal will help to shape that future.

The Avalanche enter the draft with seven selections:


(1)    3rd overall

(2)    33rd overall, 49th overall*

(3)    64th overall

(4)    None**

(5)    124th overall

(6)    154th overall

(7)    184th overall

*Acquired from the Calgary Flames (via Montreal), along with Lawrence Nycholat and Ryan Wilson, in exchange for Jordan Leopold.

**The Avalanche traded a conditional first and fourth round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Adam Foote.  The Jackets received the Avs 2008 first round pick when Colorado qualified for the playoffs in the spring of 2008 and the Avs gave up their fourth round pick in this year’s draft when they re-signed Adam Foote last summer.

The third overall selection is the highest the Avs have picked since moving from Quebec City.  The previous high was in 1991 when the Quebec Nordiques drafted Eric Lindros first overall. 


Rick Pracey will take the reins from Ted Hampson as the Avs chief scout for the upcoming draft.  While the Avs management group went through some changes, the Avs scouting staff remained relatively intact.  Hampson was head scout for the 2007 and 2008 drafts, which had a strong North American flavor:

Number of picks:  16

CHL:  5

NCAA/ College Bound:  8

Europe:  3

If you look back at all the post lockout drafts (4), a preference can clearly be identified:

Number of picks:  31

CHL:  11

NCAA/ College Bound:  17

Europe:  3


The Avs have solid depth up front, but lack a blue chip top six forward prospect.  Barring a trade, this may be resolved with the drafting of John Tavares or Matt Duchene.  The Avs possess a solid group of defensive prospects in Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen, Cameron Gaunce and Nigel Williams.  A rugged defensive defensemen would be a nice addition to this group.  The Avs also need defensive minded forwards who are above average on face-offs and are solid penalty killers.  In addition, Colorado needs to add speed to their lineup.

The biggest need is between the pipes.  The Avs have selected a goaltender in the second round of the last two drafts (Trevor Cann and Peter Delmas).  Yet, they lack a bonafide goaltending prospect ready to emerge.  Unfortunately, the 2009 draft isn’t deep in regards to the goaltending position. 

Colorado Connections

The 2009 draft will present an opportunity for the University of Denver and Colorado College to have players drafted in the first round.  Defenseman John Moore, who has committed to the Tigers (yet may opt to play in the OHL), could be selected in the top 15 of this draft.  Colorado native, Drew Shore, will begin his collegiate career this fall with DU, and could be taken in the latter half of the first round or early in the second round.   

In addition to Shore, Denver could have at least three other incoming freshman, William Wrenn, Paul Phillips and Adam Murray, selected in this weekend’s draft.  Beyond the college ranks is Kelowna Rockets (WHL) defenseman, and Littleton, CO, native Collin Bowman.  His older brother is Drayson Bowman, a draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.  The younger Bowman is a defensive defenseman that is expected to be taken in the third or fourth round of this year’s draft.


The New York Islanders, who hold the first overall pick, have kept quiet regarding their draft selection.  The general consensus is that they will select London Knights (OHL) forward John Tavares.  With Tampa likely picking Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, the Avalanche are expected to take Matt Duchene. 

This is based on the assumption that there will not be any trades.  It’s unlikely the Avs will move the third overall pick, but the Avs may try to move back into the later portion of the first round or could look to dump off assets to acquire additional picks.  With few changes in the scouting department, expect the Avs to go heavy on North American players.  The Avs will most likely look at CHL players early, college bound players in the middle rounds and may take a chance on a European player late in the draft as they have done the last couple of years.

While it’s easy to predict the Avs will select whichever of the “Big 3” that falls into their laps, it becomes a challenge as to what they will do with their later picks.  On Hockey’s Future I participated in two mock drafts; one third round mock and a seven round mock.

Three Round Mock

Round 1 – 3rd overall – Matt Duchene, C, Brampton (OHL)

Round 2 – 33rd overall – Oliver Roy, G, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Round 2 – 49th overall – Chris Brown, RW, USNTDP

Round 3 – 64th overall – William Wrenn, D, USNTDP

Seven Round Mock

Round 1 – 3rd overall – Matt Duchene, C, Brampton (OHL)

Round 2 – 33rd overall – Oliver Roy, G, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Round 2 – 49th overall – Charles-Oliver Roussel, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Round 3 – 64th overall – William Wrenn, D, USNTDP

Round 5 – 124th overall – Stepan Novotny, RW, Kelowna (WHL)

Round 6 – 154th overall – Paul Phillips, D, Cedar Rapids (USHL)

(At the time the seven round mock was conducted, it was unknown if the condition on the Avs seventh round pick was met.  The Avs dealt a conditional seventh round pick to the Dallas Stars for Marty Sertich last summer.  While the condition of the pick is unknown, it likely had to do with the number of NHL games played, which was none in the case of Sertich.  The Avs have retained their seventh round selection.)

In retrospect, I probably wouldn’t draft a goaltender at 33rd overall, but wait until the 49th or 64th picks.  With the depth of skaters in this draft, the Avs should find a quality player with their first second round pick.  If Denver native Drew Shore falls out of the first round, he may be too good to pass up.  However, defenseman Charles-Oliver Roussel would be my favorite and is likely to be available at the top of the second round.

I predict there will be a run on goalies later in the second round and into the third round.  Oliver Roy is a popular choice, but my prediction for the Avs is Fargo’s (USHL) Mike Lee.  He helped lead the expansion franchise, Fargo Force, to the Clark Cup Finals and is expected to attend St. Cloud State (WCHA) in the fall.   

Regardless of the specific players selected, this is shaping up to be an intriguing weekend for the Colorado Avalanche.