Yesterday, we took a look at some potential targets for the Colorado Avalanche with their first four picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Looking at best-player-available as the best strategy in the early rounds, it allows teams the flexibility to get more creative with their later picks.
In the case of the Avalanche this year, it is important for the team to draft a goalie that they can develop over the next-half decade. The problem is that there aren’t any standouts in this year’s draft. There are some strong goaltenders coming out of Europe - a byproduct of the CHL import goalie ban. Lukas Dostal, Jakub Skarek and Justus Annunen are guys that will likely be taken in the top-100, but with the number of talented goaltenders that will be falling to the second half of the draft, there will be value in waiting to grab one (or two) with a later pick.
With that said, here is a look at some potential targets for the Avalanche in rounds 4-7:
Round 4 - #109 Overall
Ryan O’Reilly - F - Madison Capitols
The name might trigger something in Avalanche fans. Unlike NHLer by the same name, this Ryan O’Reilly wants to play in Denver as he is committed to the DU Pioneers for the 2019-20 season. Before being diagnosed with Mono at the start of 2018, O’Reilly was the leading goal scorer among rookies in the USHL. He finished the season with 21 goals in 45 games
O’Reilly grew up just outside of Dallas, Texas, so being drafted in his home town this summer should be a huge thrill.
Other Possibilities: Chase Wouters (F), Trey Fix-Wolansky (C), Alec Regula (RHD)
Round 5 - # 140 Overall
Jordan Kooy - G - London Knights
In two seasons with the Knights, he has a record of 18-10-1, a 2.91 GAA and .911 SV% to go along with one shutout – which he secured this season. Kooy hasn’t had a full opportunity to show what he can do between the pipes so far in his OHL career. When he has been given playing time, he has shown that there is potential worth developing.
Taking a back seat after the Knights acquired Joseph Raaymakers likely hurt his draft stock significantly, but he has shown the makings of a very good goaltender and is definitely worth a pick later in the draft.
Other Possibilities: Merrick Rippon (LHD), Nathan Dunkley (C), Carl Wassenius (C)
Round 6 - #171 Overall
Owen Lalonde - RHD - Guelph Storm (OHL)
Selected 2nd overall behind Ryan Merkley in the 2016 Priority Section Draft, Lalonde has had a rocky first two seasons in the OHL. He requested a trade out of Sudbury after his rookie year and spent this past season playing behind Merkley on the Guelph Storm. He is a very good skater and moves the puck well. Decision making is his biggest issue.
Lalonde grew up playing forward, so he is still learning how to properly fit in on the blueline. He has become a lot better as he spends more time adapting his defensive awareness. He’s a project, and will need a lot of work put in by whichever organization drafts him. If the Avalanche can get a guy with Lalonde’s talent this late in the draft, it’s definitely worth the risk.
Other Possibilities: Duncan McGovern (G), Krystof Hrabik (C), Max Ellis (RW)
Round 7 - #202 Overall
Demetrios Koumontzis - F - Edina High
Committed to Arizona State University, Koumontizs spent this season dominating the Minnesota High-school league. He’s short, but solid and doesn’t look small on the ice. He’s got explosive offensive capabilities any just needs to learn how to stay consistent.
There’s a lot of development needed in his game, and he could stand to work with a skating coach to improve his edge work, but Koumontzis is the kind of player you want to take a flier on at the end of the draft.
Other Possibilities: Samuel Houde (C), Brodi Stuart (LW), Bryce Brodzinski (F)