With the NHL Draft just five days away, everyone has speculated on the top five picks and pretty much most of the first round.
What we do know, at least according to Patrick Roy, is that the Colorado Avalanche will be selecting Nathan MacKinnon with their first pick, the very first in the 2013 NHL Draft. This afterRoy publicly acknowledged that Seth Jones would not be the way to go for the franchise.
But what’s after him? Where might the Avs go with their picks after the franchise is locked down at #1? That’s what we’re here for. Today, you’ll get an Avs mock draft on just who they could end up selecting on the big day.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.
First round (1) – Nathan MacKinnon C, Halifax: Obviously.Roy has said as much but why is theHalifax pivot the number one pick? He’s an elite talent, obviously, but his ability is the type you don’t see often in players. He’s an offensive dynamo and a complete two-way player. When this type of player comes available, you take him ten out of ten times and light the cigars.
Second round (32) – Mirco Mueller D, Everett: Mueller has the talent to be a first round pick but has been sliding down draft rankings as we get closer to the draft day itself. Praised for his smarts, he diagnoses situations and reacts quickly. Good size (6’2”, 176) and good mobility, he has top-four ability if he pans out. The Avs would love to shore up the blueline with a talent like this and could get great value at the beginning of the second round.
Third Round (63) – Pavel Buchnevich RW, Cherepovets: A good sized winger (6’1”, 170) with room to grow, he stood out in international competitions and displayed a high level of skill. He’s very creative and a smooth skater who doesn’t fear traffic. Strong one-on-one ability with a quick release on his wrist shot. Caveats apply about the “Russian factor”; he may never see the light of day in North American hockey but if he does, he could be a steal in the third round for the Avalanche.
Fourth round (93) – Mason Geersten D, Vancouver: The Avs really need to shore up the back end and passing on Seth Jones in the first round means trying to fill in the blanks later on. Mueller would be a good start and the big Geersten (6’3”, 200) would be an excellent addition. Big hitter who’s willing to scrap, he has an NHL-ready body and could come in early to provide the Avs with a big, mean, physical defender they really need.
Fifth round (123) – Ryan Graves D, PEI Rocket: This isn’t necessarily sticking with a need but potentially adding the best player available. At 6’4”, 220 he’s a monster of a defenseman who likes the physical play. He’s still developing and adjusting to quicker styles of play will be a challenge for him but if he’s given time to develop, he could be a find. You can’t teach size and nastiness;Graves has them in spades.
Sixth round (153) – Taylor Cammarata LW, Shattuck-St.Marys: Going away from picks with big bodies, the 5’9” 160 lb Cammarata is quick and strong on the puck, a must for his size. He’s committed to theUniversity ofMinnesota, a collegiate hockey powerhouse, so you know the kind of skill he possesses. Will definitely need a few years before he can even think about making the roster.
Seventh round (183) – Tim McGauley C, Brandon: A high-IQ centerman is never a bad thing and McGauley is just that. He’s a very good skater with good finishing ability but a bit on the smallish side (5’11”).
The obvious goal for the Avalanche, after MacKinnon is to fortify the defense. Whether that means building through the draft, trading one of their forwards (Stastny? O’Rielly at the deadline?), or signing one or two through free agency remains to be seen. Look for the Avs to take the best player available and build up their talent pool.
A draft like this is the perfect time for a team like the Colorado Avalanche to change their future.
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