Colorado Avalanche: 6 Selections for the Second Round

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Markus Niemelainen

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 189 pounds

Current Team: Saginaw Spirit, OHL

Probability for Success: 2-3 years development, third liner

Defenseman Markus Niemelainen is another big player, which is why I couldn’t resist including him in this list. Because the Colorado Avalanche do prize big defensemen.

Big players aren’t always the best skaters, and Niemelainen does need a little work in that area. However, he’s got an excellent stride with that height, and his reach helps make up for a somewhat lack in speed. He’s also very agile.

What’s more, Niemelainen is great at moving the puck out of the defensive zone. He’s a level-headed player who doesn’t make a lot of flashy plays, but he doesn’t cost his team either. He’s so good at shutting down the opposition, especially in his own end. That’s only going to increase as he packs the muscle on his tall frame.

As you can imagine, Niemelainen has a booming shot from the point. He’s not a very offensive-minded defenseman, but he can set up a play.

I think Markus Niemelainen might be a second choice for the Colorado Avalanche — meaning they’ll consider him if their first hope goes earlier on. That said, they’ll probably pick Niemelainen over a smaller defenseman such as Samuel Girard or Kale Clague.

Next: Evan Fitzpatrick