Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft: Should Colorado Target Pick 21?


The Buffalo Sabres, who had the worst record in the NHL last season, won the #2 overall pick at the 2015 NHL draft. They lost out on the #1 draft pick, which went to the Edmoton Oilers, so they are unlikely to trade away their chance at top prospect Jack Eichel.

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Buffalo has another first round pick, though. In 2013, the Sabres traded forward Thomas Vanek (currently of the Minnesota Wild) for Matt Moulson (current alternate captain for Buffalo) and a first round pick. That pick comes in at #21 this year. (The Islanders were able to defer last year because it was a top-10 pick — #5, to be specific, which they used on left wing Michael Dal Colle.)

Anyway, even if the Buffalo Sabres lost the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes, they still have excellent prospects with Jack Eichel. Not that they’ll feel generous with their #21 pick, but they might be open to a trade.

Should the Colorado Avalanche make a play for that pick?

What would Colorado have to give up in the 2015 NHL draft?

In a previous article, I detailed that professor Michael Schuckers at St. Lawrence University published an NHL Draft Value Pick Chart:

Professor Michael Schucker’s NHL Draft Pick value chart.

According to the chart, the #21 pick is worth 336 points. So, the Avalanche would have to come up with 336 points worth of goods to tempt that away from the Sabres.

The Avalanche might be able to get away with offering a couple of late picks, but those almost never pan out, so why would Buffalo bother? They’d probably have to give up their second round pick, #40, and a later pick. There’s still good talent available at #40, but there’s better talent at #21.

It’s possible Avalanche GM Joe Sakic could get creative and try for Buffalo’s #21 and #92 in exchange for Colorado’s #10, but I can’t imagine. Maybe there’s be a three-team trade or some prospects involved… It can get complicated fast. Let’s say Sakic opts for #40 and #101 in exchange for #21, and Sabres GM Tim Murray agrees.

What could Colorado get at #21 in the 2015 NHL Draft?

According to NHL.com, the #21 North American skater is Jeremy Roy.

Jeremy Roy is a 6-foot, 183-pound defenseman who shoots right. He’s a two-way defenseman whos been compared to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. The Hockey Writers calls Roy the “best QMJHL defender available in this year’s draft, bar none.”

View image | gettyimages.com

Head coach Patrick Roy might think him a might small for a defenseman. He want a 6–foot-3 center — I imagine he wants at least that from a defenseman.

Slot a few European skaters into the top-20, and the Avalanche might be able to look at drafting #20, Daniel Sprong (6-foot right wing) or #18 Filip Chlapik (6-foot-1 center). I have a hard time believing the Avalanche would do all that trading for any of those players, though.

Rather, the Avalanche have been known to select down in order to get the traits they want. Indeed, coach Roy has said he wants to select for need instead of best talent available. In that case, let’s look at a couple defensemen a little lower on the list — Colorado needs an infusion of talent on defense.

The #24 rank goes to 6-foot-2 defenseman Ryan Pilon. He’s a solid two-way defenseman with some size on him who could be a cross between Drew Doughty and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. That’s some pretty good talent.

The #25 rank goes to Colorado-born defenseman Brandon Carlo. At 6-foot-5, the currently willowy Carlo has the potential to be a Brent Burns or Dustin Byfuglien — except he’s a defensive-minded defenseman. He would be an eventual upgrade on Nate Guenin as a partner for Tyson Barrie.

The Avalanche could opt for a big forward such as #26 Paul Bittner. Bittner is a big 6-foot-4 power forward with a rocket of a shot. He might just be talented enough to make the team right away in the manner of Ryan O’Reilly, 2009’s #33 draft pick.

What do you think, Avs Nation? Would it be worth it to give up a second round draft pick, along with a fourth round pick, for the chance at one of those prospects?

Next: Do the Avs Go Forward or Defense at 2015 NHL Draft?

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