Avalanche Rumors: Colorado Picks a Defenseman in NHL Draft?


For those teams not in the playoffs, the focus turns to the 2015 NHL Draft. We won’t know the exact order that teams pick in the 2015 NHL Draft until the conclusion of the 2015 Stanley cup Playoffs. Nonetheless, there are plenty of Colorado Avalanche rumors about this year’s draft.

However, concerning the Avalanche, we know a couple things for sure. First, the NHL Draft Lottery ensured the Avalanche’s first round pick is #10. Second, according to ESPN, the Avalanche have a single pick in every round except the fifth, which was traded away.

Safe Assumptions

We can also safely assume a few other things. Short of a blockbuster trade, the Avalanche are not getting Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel or any of the other top draft prospects.  Actually, that’s all we can safely assume.

Pundits think they can safely assume the Avalanche will pick a defenseman with their #10 draft pick. Denver Post writer Mike Chambers started a recent article with the following assertion:

"“Based on needs, the Avalanche probably will select a defenseman with the No. 10 pick at the NHL draft June 26-27.”"

When Chambers sent out that assertion via Twitter, many Avalanche fans all but assumed Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy had written their defenseman selection in pen.

I don’t think that’s a safe assumption at all. I think it’s safe to assume the Avs will draft a defenseman — I simply don’t think it’ll be with their #10 pick.

Avalanche Rumor: Big Forward

Head coach and VP of hockey operations Patrick Roy — I use his full title to emphasize what a big role he plays in decision-making — has gone on record as stating size does matter when it comes to hockey players. During an interview with The Fan Morning Show, Roy remarked:

"“If you’re a big team size-wise, I guess you’re less subject to injuries than if you’re a small team.”"

Indeed, Roy went on to lambast former scout Rick Pracey for selecting too many one-dimensional — and small — players. He specifically mentioned the decision to draft the diminutive Joey Hishon:

"“I love Joey, he’s a great kid. But maybe we should have been looking for a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 centerman.”"

I agree with Mike Chambers that the Avalanche will draft based on need because coach Roy said exactly that. However, coach Roy has the final say in decisions about hockey personnel. And it sounds like coach Roy wants a big center, or at least a big forward, more than he wants a defenseman.

Avalanche Rumor: Not a Defenseman

More from Rumors

Stop dreaming about third-ranked defenseman Noah Hanifin. If the Avs traded up, it’s doubtful they’d use an earlier draft pick on a defenseman.

Again, I refer to coach Roy. First of all, he has especially praised the defensive prospects the Avalanche have in the farm system. On more than one occasion he’s mentioned the likes of Mason Geertsen and Chris Bigras. It sounds like the defensemen the Avs have coming up is the one area of satisfaction for Roy.

Secondly, Roy has spoken out against drafting defensemen too high. He has stated he would never spend a first-overall pick on a defenseman because they take too long to develop. Granted, first-overall is different from #10 in terms of draft picks, but it’s still first round.

Finally, the one defensive upgrade Roy has mentioned for the Avs is a partner for cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson. EJ needs a new D-partner, and that ain’t going to come out of this year’s draft. Either Roy has one of the current prospects in mind, or he has his eye on a trade. (Free agency is a possibility, but Patrick Roy has stated he doesn’t put stock in building a team via free agency.)

Possible Avalanche Draft Picks

So, resolved: the Avs aren’t picking a D-man first round. Bye-bye, Ivan Provorov, Zachary Werenski or Jakub Zboril. (Yes, I will laugh if Roy and Sakic make me eat those words!)

Looking at the current NHL.com rankings, center Timo Meier out of Halifax, QMJHL looks like the most obvious choice. He’s not a “6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 centerman,” but he’s a 6-foot-1 centerman already with good size. Meier is known for physicality. He also has the two-way ability the Avs are sorely lacking.

View image | gettyimages.com

Center Jansen Harkins out of Prince George, WHL is another option. He’s a little low on the ranking, but the Avalanche selected below their ranking last season as well. (Conner Bleackley was 29th, but the Avs took him 23rd.) Harkins has decent size. Roy will love that he’s billed as a hard worker — he constantly praises work ethic.

Never fear, the Avs might draft a defenseman, but it’s more likely to be in the second round. We don’t know yet what pick Colorado will have in the second round. However, there are some good options for D-men.

Guillaume Brisebois out of Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL, is one option. He’s currently ranked 30th. He’s not huge for a defenseman at 6-foot-2, but he could bulk up a bit. He’s known for being a workhorse defenseman with leadership capabilities — again, qualities Roy prizes.

We can hope Brandon Carlo out of Tri-City WHL will still be around, though it’s doubtful since his current ranking is 25. He’s one big boy — 6-foot-5 — and looks like he has a pretty good mean streak. He’s not huge on pinching into the play, but he’s known for being industrious and smart on the play. He also happens to be from Colorado Springs. I doubt the Avs would trade up to select Carlo, but if he’s still available in the second round, Colorado might just snap him up.

Stay tuned for more Avalanche rumors and draft prospect coverage from Mile High Sticking, especially from out prospects guru Janik Beichler.

What do you think, Avs Nation? Who should the Colorado Avalanche draft?

Next: 3 Possible Draft-Day Scenarios

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