Avalanche NHL Draft: Colorado Missed Out in 2003

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Reading Janik Beichler’s Avalanche NHL draft post from earlier this week, I got to thinking about the depth of that draft. Truth be told, I was living abroad at the time and didn’t watch the draft or even pay much attention. So, with gleeful anticipation, I got onto Hockey DB to see who Colorado picked in that talent-rich draft.

Scrolling down the list, I saw some real hockey luminaries — Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Jeff Carter, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf… I kept scrolling and realized I’d gotten all the way to the second round and #63 before Colorado came up — and they used the pick to draft Dave Liffiton.

“Who?” I thought, followed quickly by “What happened to the Colorado Avalanche’s first round pick that year?”

Well, on February 21, 2001, the Colorado Avalanche traded away Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, a player to be named later (Jared Aulin) and their first-round draft pick for 2003. Who’d they get back? Hall of Fame defenseman Rob Blake and forward Steven Reinprecht (now with the AHL). Hard to argue Blake, but…

As for Dave Liffiton, he was a total wash. Liffiton never even suited up as an Avalanche. Instead, his rights were traded away to the New York Rangers for Matthew Barnaby and a third round selection in 2004. Again, hard to argue with Barnaby, but…

What if the Avalanche had retained their first round pick, which ended up being #26? Who could they have selected in that talent-rich 2003 NHL draft?