Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft: Should Colorado Trade Up?


The Colorado Avalanche have the tenth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. That’s a good pick. The team can select some great talent at that pick.

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers thinks it’s safe to assume the Colorado Avalanche will select a defenseman with that pick. Prospect Zach Werenski is a good bet to go around #10. He’s 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and currently ranked ninth by NHL.com. Read more about Zach Werenski:

Next: 2015 NHL Draft Profile: Zach Werenski

However, there’s a much juicier defensive prospect in the 2015 NHL draft — Noah Hanifin.

Noah Hanifin

Defenseman Noah Hanifin is currently playing for Boston College in the NCAA. The 18-year-old is good-sized at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. Hanifin is American-born (Norwood, MA) and has experience with Team USA. He served as captain for Team USA at the IIHF Under-17 Championships. He also spent a year in the USA Hockey’s National Talent Development Program.

View image | gettyimages.com

Hanifin is a great skater who can propel his large frame down the ice with ease. He can produce from the point, and he’s got the hockey acumen to play good defense. A strong two-way player, Hanifin is also known for being a leader.

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy has said he doesn’t believe in picking a defenseman too high in the draft. However, he’s also said one issue that needs addressing is a new defensive partner for cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson on the top pairing.

Hanifin has the size, work ethic and leadership qualities coach Roy prizes. As of right now, Hanifin is expected to go #3 in the NHL Draft. That’s the Arizona Coyotes’ pick.

Should the Colorado Avalanche trade up to select Noah Hanifin? (Of course, Connor McDavid is expected to go first-overall to the Edmonton Oilers.)

NHL Draft Pick Value

While trading players is a lot about circumstances and bargaining acumen, there’s actually a formula for moving up the draft ranking.

Professor Michael Schuckers at St. Lawrence University has published an NHL Draft Value Pick Chart. It shows how many “points” each draft pick is worth through all seven rounds. The points system is based on calculations that I’m not going to attempt to explain, but here’s the chart:

Professor Michael Schucker’s NHL Draft Pick value chart.

As you can see, The #3 pick is valued at 826 points, while the #10 pick (Colorado’s) is valued at 565.

Now, team GMs are not beholden to this chart. Circumstance and bargaining acumen still play a large role. Plus, a team might have something the other team wants. However, to trade up to the #3 spot, the Colorado Avalanche would have to come up with something “valued” at 826 points — or that the Arizona Coyotes want.

Now, they could start by giving the Coyotes their first and second round picks. That doesn’t quite equal 826 points, but the Coyotes are rebuilding, and they might appreciate having two draft picks in this talent-rich pool.

More likely, the Avs would have to give up something else. The Coyotes already have one of the most talented defensemen out there in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, so they may not be looking for a defenseman. They might prefer a prospect already in the Avalanche system, perhaps last year’s pick, Conner Bleackley. The Avs would probably still have to give that #10 pick.

Several GMs might have to get involved to make a trade up like that happen. Perhaps the Avalanche would trade their pick for something the Coyotes want, that they would then trade for the #3 pick… At that point, the speculation becomes too great.

The point is, should the Avalanche even bother going after the #3 pick and Noah Hanifin? It’s possible he could step right into the lineup, but would he really be ready to partner Erik Johnson right away? Would it be worth it to trade up for Hanifin and let him spend a year on a lower defensive pairing — or even with the new AHL-affiliate San Antonio Rampage?

Or should the Avalanche stay content with the #10 pick and Zach Werenski or some other prospect? After all, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy might go through all that trading to get the #3 pick just to see the Buffalo Sabres pass over center Jack Eichel and select Hanifin. (Of course, the Avs could then select Eichel, but that’s a different story.)

What do you think, Avs Nation?

Next: Avs Free Agency - Top RFA Defensemen

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