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Colorado Avalanche Draft Targets: Rounds 1-3

Who might the Avalanche take in the early rounds of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

NHL: NHL Draft David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the Matt Duchene trade, the Colorado Avalanche hold an extra second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. For a team that has been known to trade away an abundance of picks over the past few seasons, having three picks in the top-60 is a welcome novelty.

Once you get outside of the top-3, this year’s draft is as wide open as any. There are a number of players that could be drafted anywhere from #7 to the early 20s. With such a wide open group, it’s hard to pin down exactly who will be available to the Avalanche at #16. Joe Sakic and his group will likely have a rather fluid draft board with a handful of hopeful targets in the first round.

There are many fans that would like certain holes filled by the Avs at this year’s draft. One thing is important to remember, drafting the best player available is essential - especially at the top of the first round. In the NHL, you can never go wrong by amassing the greatest amount of talent possible. Depth charts are easier to fill out if you’re filling it with more talented players without worrying about position.

Knowing that, here are a couple possibilities for who might end up in an Avs jersey after the first three rounds of the draft.

First Round - #16 Overall

Joel Farabee - LW - USNDPT (U18) - Farabee is a quick moving, three-zone playmaker who is going to be a sound system player in addition to being one of the most lethal scorers in his draft class. Farabee has been overshadowed by his linemates Oliver Wahlstrom and Jack Hughes. He has great linemates to be sure, but has proven to be an immense talent in his own right and should be talked about more by draft analysts than he currently is. At the low-end, Farabee should become a strong third liner with speed who can help a penalty kill, but if he reaches his full potential, he can be a top-six scorer who can be a legitimate offensive threat in the NHL. A captain at many levels growing up, Farabee has a lot of leadership capabilities to go along with his high-end skill.

Other Possibilities: Bode Wilde (RD), Barrett Hayton (C), Dominik Bokk (F)

Second Round - #47 Overall

Nicolas Beaudin - LD - Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

Beaudin is an undersized left-shooting defenceman that has elite puck skills and put up big numbers in the QMJHL (sound familiar?). His mobility is elite. He uses his speed to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. He is very positionally sound both with and without the puck. He keeps his head up and has the vision to make calculated decisions on the breakout. Defensively, he is assertive and, though he isn’t able to impose himself physically, he uses his awareness and quickness to take away options and put pressure on the opposition. He is able to anticipate the play extremely well in all three zones, indicator of his high-level hockey sense. Sam Girard’s success in the NHL this season might result in Beaudin being drafted higher than this, but if he’s available at 47, the Avs would be wise to make him the selection.

Other Possibilities: Milos Roman (C), Jared McIsaac (LD), Jack McBain (C)

Second Round - #58 Overall

Cameron Hillis - C - Guelph Storm (OHL)

Hillis put up nearly a point per game as an OHL rookie this season in Guelph. He can make skilled plays with the puck to create space and gain the zone. Hillis shows great vision with the puck and can be a primary creator for his line. He also plays a responsible defensive game. He skates very well and will use his speed to pressure opponents on both the forecheck and backsheck. He’s still got a lot of learning to do. He’ll often get caught trying to blow the defensive zone early to anticipate the breakout - something that has to change if hes’ going to stick down the middle of the ice. Hillis is a longer-term project, but in his single year of junior hockey, he’s shown a development curve that could end with him as a very strong NHL center.

Other Possibilities: Oliver Okuliar(LW), Lukas Dostal (G), Stanislav Demin (LD)

Third Round - #78 Overall

Nando Eggenberger - W - HC Davos (NLA)

This pick is more than just selecting the kid with an elite name. Once believed to be a potential first round pick, Eggenberger had a bit of an underwhelming year. He had only 5 points in 36 games for Davos, but it has to be remembered that he was playing in one of the top professional leagues in Eurose at the age of 18. Eggenberger thinks the game well and can really shoot the puck. He is stronger than most prospect his age and has been able to play an effective professional defensive game as a result. He is a prototypical power wing with size, shot, balance and decent straight line skating ability. He can play on the penalty kill and isn’t afraid to initiate puck battles along the boards and in the corners. He is very difficult to move off the puck.

Other Possibilities: Justus Annunen (G), Aided Dudas (C), Riley Hughes (RW)