With the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft only hours away, it seems as though speculation for the first round has been beaten to death. The Colorado Avalanche will be picking 4th and 16th Friday night, but as of right now they have another six picks over the course of the draft.
With four picks in the top-63 and five picks in the first three rounds, the opportunity exists to add a lot of talent to the prospect pool. Here is a look at a few possibilities for each of the picks the Avalanche currently own:
First Round - 4th Overall
Kirby Dach (C) - Assuming Alex Turcotte is selected 3rd overall, this pick is going to be either Dach or Trevor Zegras. I lean Dach because he brings a skill set that would fit in perfectly as the long term 2C for the Avalanche while having an upside that is higher than anyone in the draft outside of the top-two.
Other possibilities: Trevor Zegras (F), Bowen Byram (LD)
First Round - 16th Overall
Philip Tomasino (C) - After taking the big playmaking center in the top-five, the Avalanche would look to take a guy with a more 200-foot game that can also put the puck in the net. Tomasino’s scoring ability is underrated thanks to his diminished role on a deep Niagara team but look for him to contend for the OHL’s scoring title next season.
Other Possibilities: Connor McMichael (C), Cam York (LD), Bobby Brink (W), Spencer Knight (G)
Second Round - 47th Overall
Hunter Jones (G) - Jones is the second best goalie in the draft and the gap between he and Spencer Knight isn’t as big as many believe. Playing for a team in Peterborough that is a disaster defensively, Jones’ numbers aren’t overly impressive, but he’s got all the tools to be an elite goaltending prospect. Jones would be the goalie of the future for the Avalanche and has all the makings of being a high-end NHL starter.
Other Possibilities: Harrison Blaisdell (C), Albin Grewe (RW), Adam Beckman (C)
Third Round - 63rd Overall
Michal Teplý (W) - A big winger from the Czech Republic, Teply does his best work down low while creating offensive zone possession on the cycle. His foot speed needs work but given time and the right development, an added step could turn him into a legitimate power forward in the NHL. He’s worth a gamble with the extra third round pick.
Other Possibilities: Mads Sogaard (G), Alex Beaucage (RW), Drew Helleson (RD)
Third Round - 78th Overall
Jake Lee (LD) - Lee is one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the draft. A former first-round selection in the WHL draft, Lee is one of the youngest players in this class which gives him a lot of room for development. A well rounded defender, Lee was counted on to play in all situations for the Thunderbirds this season. He’s very raw but given time to develop, Lee definitely has the potential to turn into a solid second pair defender in the NHL.
Other Possibilities: Layton Ahac (LD), Blake Murray (C), Cade Weber (LD), Cole Schwindt (C)
Fifth Round - 140th Overall
Nando Eggenberger (LW) - After being passed over in last year’s draft, Eggenberger came over to the OHL and opened a lot of eyes playing opposite Serron Noel on the top line for the Oshawa Generals. He’s not quick, but his foot speed has improved from a year ago and he has learned to be able to find space despite his lack of speed. He’s a huge kid and looked a lot like a Swiss James van Riemsdyk in the OHL this season. He’s definitely worth taking a flyer on later in the draft.
Sixth Round - 171st Overall
Nicholas Porco (LW) - Porco is fast. He’s got an awkward, upright stride but that doesn’t hinder his ability to out skate most opponents at the junior level. He’s also very quick to get up to top speed. Ironically, the quickness might also be his biggest downfall. Porco has only one speed and a bit of tunnel vision - it’s almost as though his mind and hands can’t keep up with his feet. If he can learn to anticipate the play better, there is a strong possibility that Porco can turn into an effective forechecking bottom-6 in the NHL.
Other Possibilities: Sasha Mutala (RW), Danil Antropov (LW), Kyle Topping (C)
Seventh Round - 202nd Overall
Parker Ford (C) - Playing alongside Bobby Brink, Ford is a defense-first center that is very good on the faceoff and the anchor of his team’s top penalty kill unit. He has the puck a lot but lacks the type of creativity and offensive ability that you’d like to see from a high-end prospect. Despite that, Ford is a coach’s dream as he’s very smart and constantly out working everyone else on the ice. He’s a long way from being a legitimate NHL prospect but for a seventh round pick, he’s got enough potential to be worth the time to develop.
Other Possibilities: Mitchell Brewer (LD), Kalle Loponen (RD), Alexander Campbell (C)
Here are a few options from Luke’s perspective:
Matthew Boldy, Bobby Brink
Goalie: Hunter Jones
Forward: Shane Pinto
Defense: Ryan Johnson
Goalie: Mads Sogaard
Forward: Yegor Spiridonov
Defense: Gianni Fairbrother
Goalie: Dustin Wolf
Forward: Maxim Cajkovic
Defense: Semyon Chistyakov
Goalie: Ilya Konovalov
Forward: Adam Beckman
Defense: Marc Del Gaizo
Goalie: Jesse Makaj
Forward: Sasha Mutala
Defense: Ilya Mironov
Goalie: Erik Portillo
Forward: Nando Eggenberger
Defense: Connor Horning