2015 NHL Mock Draft: Colorado Avalanche First Round Pick


The FanSided Universe 2015 NHL Mock Draft continues with the Colorado Avalanche on the clock…

When my colleague Nadia Archuleta and I discussed who we should use the tenth overall pick on, we weren’t always on the same page. I personally kept my fingers crossed for defenseman Zach Werenski to drop down, while Nadia’s one rule was that we are not picking a defenseman in the first round. Her favorite was center Pavel Zacha.

Well, each of our two favorites got snatched from under our noses, as they were picked eighth and ninth, respectively. Starting then, it was a rather easy decision to make. We both wanted a big, talented forward — just what Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy is craving.

With the tenth pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche are proud to select, from TPS, Finland, Mikko Rantanen.

Mikko Rantanen, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound center, is exactly the type of player that Roy will be drooling over. Rantanen is an exceptional playmaker with extremely good hockey sense, very smooth hands, and great skating. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked as the No.1 European skater.

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Unlike other teen-aged players, Rantanen has been playing in Finland’s top tier league since the 2012-13 season, when he was just 16 years old. That shows that he is clearly able to compete with grown professionals. As a European import, Rantanen will also be eligible to play in the AHL to get used to the North American style of hockey, before joining the big leagues. Whether he would prefer to continue playing in Finland if he cannot make an NHL roster out of training camp remains to be seen.

For the Colorado Avalanche, Rantanen would be the perfect fit for a number of reasons. Firstly, coach Roy wants to add size — Rantanen should classify as big. Growing up playing in Europe, he will have to get used to using his body more when he comes over to North America. One of his little weaknesses is that he needs to get more physical, but that should not become a problem for a player with his frame.

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Secondly, the Avalanche are lacking forward depth. Center is the one position where, with Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Nate MacKinnon, the depth is there. However, O’Reilly, MacKinnon and Rantanen are all used to playing on the wing. Rantanen can fill in on any forward position.

Last but not least, there are some promising defensemen in the system — at least Roy and GM Joe Sakic are convinced of them. Chris Bigras should be ready fairly soon, Duncan Siemens got to give his NHL debut and Mason Geertsen was signed to an entry-level contract. Kyle Wood and Will Butcher should also become options in the future.

Why Rantanen over other options?

There weren’t too many others left that would have met our criteria. Lawson Crouse went off the board seventh overall to Philadelphia, Zacha to the Sharks. The only real options for us were Rantanen, Timo Meier and Evgeni Svechnikov.

In our opinion, neither of the two players can beat Rantanen in talent. His ceiling should be higher than that of Meier or Svechnikov. Furthermore, when in doubt, I give the edge to the center and both Meier and Svechnikov play primarily on the wing.

Prior selections:

Center. Erie Otters. Connor McDavid. 1. player. 148. Wayne Gretzky said <a href=

player. 12. The young forward has already achieved everything possible at the NCAA level, save for a National Tournament Championship. <a href=. Center. Boston University. Jack Eichel. 2

121. We want someone like Strome to come in, and use his size to muscle his way to the front of the net. <a href=. Center. Erie Otters. Dylan Strome. 3. player

109. He’s a projected top pairing defender at the NHL level who skates as smooth as any blueliner in the draft and has the hockey smarts to back up the projections. <a href=. Defenseman. Boston College. Noah Hanifin. 5. player

85. His best skills come from his vision and knowledge of the game. <a href=. Center. Seattle Thunderbirds. Mathew Barzal. 6. player

68. A power forward that uses his size to his advantage, and has the ability to put up some points as well. <a href=. Left Wing. Kingston Frontenacs. Lawson Crouse. 7. player

120. San Jose happily takes a player with Zacha’s combination of size and skill with pick number nine. <a href=. Center. Sarnia Sting. Pavel Zacha. 9. player

Next: Re-Drafting The 2015 NHL Draft