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Forward thinking: Avalanche focus up front in the draft


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:

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.