On draft day, everyone likes to jump to conclusions as to who the winners and losers are. You might think a team has a good draft, but in actuality, it’s impossible to know how a class should be graded until we have the gift of hindsight. Looking back at past drafts can be fun, and that’s exactly what Corey Pronman of the Athletic did today with the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately for the Colorado Avalanche, that is a draft fans would like to forget.
The Avs are in a bad place as an organization right now, the team is coming off of a historically terrible season and is consistently ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of prospect depth. The 2014 draft is a large reason for that. It was bad - really bad. It was the second draft Patrick Roy was around for but the first one that he had a heavy impact on.
For a reminder, here is what the Avs draft class looked like:
Even though they found a fringe NHLer in the 5th round, this is pretty ugly. Here is what Pronman had to say:
The Avs had seven picks in this class, including the 23rd overall pick Conner Bleackley who was so bad he wasn’t offered an ELC, and so far the returns have been a couple of NHL games by Anton Lindholm who is a fringy NHL player. Defender Kyle Wood has a chance and was good as an AHL rookie, in Arizona’s organization. Look no further to why the Avs crashed lately than this brutal draft class.
I agree with Pronman that this looks like some pretty terrible drafting in hindsight. Where I differ is that Pronman counts Kyle Wood as a negative since he was traded away. I get that perspective as it makes the Avs look bad, but just because he’s playing in another organization, doesn’t mean Kyle Wood was a bad draft .pick
Wood shows that the amateur scouts knew what they were doing on draft day - what he also shows is that the team’s current front office seems to have badly misjudged his talents when they traded him away for Mikkel Boedker. But a bad trade has nothing to do with the draft.
Lindholm is an NHLer with the Avs right now, but he likely doesn’t make 25 (or more) other teams. Julien Nantel has a very very very (very) slim chance of being a fourth line checker in the NHL one day - beyond that, Colorado has nothing to show for an entire draft class.
There are definitely a lot of reasons why the Avs are where they are today as an organization. Completely blowing this 2014 draft class is most certainly one of them.