Colorado Avalanche Should Draft a Defenseman in 2017 NHL Draft

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche are a long way off from the NHL draft, but they need to use their high pick this year to draft a defenseman.

When is the last time the Colorado Avalanche drafted a defenseman in the top ten you ask? Never, at least not as the Colorado Avalanche.

The Quebec Nordiques drafted a defenseman by the name of Curtis Leschyshyn in the top ten back in 1988 though.

The last time the Avs drafted a defenseman in the first round even was when they drafted Duncan Siemens 11th overall in 2011.

It’s time for that trend to change, particularly in a draft year where the forwards aren’t as strong as they usually are.

They’ve drafted two very young and skilled forwards in the top ten the last two years anyway. Tyson Jost and Mikko Rantanen are going to be some really good players for the Avs, but now it’s time for the Avs to draft a reliable defenseman.

This isn’t time for Nolan Patrick folks, it’s time to draft a steady defenseman that can eventually become our No. 1 defenseman, and I have a couple in mind.

First Consideration Needs to Be Timothy Liljegren

Timothy Liljegren is a bona-fide No. 1 defenseman in the making.

He’s NHL ready because he’s already been playing in Sweden’s top league since he was 16, and he’s dominated the SuperElit two years in a row before being called up to the SHL. Here’s a video because I know you guys love those:

He has real good hands, a rocket of a shot and fast feet. He can pivot, he can stickhandle he can quite frankly do it all, and he’s going to develop into a superstar.

Here’s a bit more about him below:

Handedness: Right

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 200 pounds

Age: 18

Minor Team: Rogle BK (SuperElit and SHL)

NHL Player Most Like: Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman

Probability of NHL Success: Extremely likely as a top-2 defenseman at least, and he’s NHL ready for the 2017-18 season.

And a quote:

"Very gifted skater who uses his feet to his advantage defensively and in transition. Smart, poised, anticipates the play, sees where to exploit opponents and can dictate play in all areas. Excellent in the defensive zone because he beats pressure, fends it off and the puck gets moving ahead quickly. Has a command of the game and he finds a way to be a contributor at critical times. — TSN’s Craig Button"

This kid is ready to play, and he’s a right-shooting defenseman. Right handed defensemen are extremely rare in the NHL.

And I know the Avs already have two of them, but Liljegren could start on the third pair while he acclimates to the NHL. Eventually he will be ready to move up the ranks, and supplant someone like Tyson Barrie. You just don’t pass on a defenseman of his caliber.

More From Mile High Sticking: Avs Can Avoid Trading a Core Player

However, depending on how the Avalanche end the year, they might miss out on the opportunity to draft him. Which is why I’ve included two players in this article.

If the Avs Cannot get Liljegren They Should Target Cal Foote

How could you not want Cal Foote on the Colorado Avalanche. His dad — Adam Foote — is a legend in Avalanche territory, and he still coaches with the team.

However, the Avs can by no means reach for Foote; he shouldn’t be drafted until No. 10. However, he could change that, because he’s currently tearing it up in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets.

Here’s a video of Cal Foote:

Foote is going to be another really good defenseman. His ceiling might just be as a top four defenseman, but hey the Avs can use all the help they can get on the on blue.

He’s got real good hands, he’s tenacious and he has a great shot from the point. Foote can also make the pass at the right time, and he pinches at the perfect time too. He’s going to be a very valuable power play asset, and he’s also comfortable in his own zone. However, he certainly does not have the skating ability that Liljegren has.

Here’s some more about him below:

Handedness: Right

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 210 pounds

Age: 18

Minor Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

NHL Player Most Like: Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman

Probability of NHL Success: Extremely likely as a top-2 defenseman at least, and he’s NHL ready for the 2017-18 season.

And a quote:

"The 6-foot-3 Foote may not be quite as naturally mean and aggressive as his Dad was, but Cal is a big, rangy blueliner who plays a strong, two-way game and may well have more offensive skill than his defense-first father. Foote’s mobility isn’t bad, but he’s going to need to continue to work on his skating. Scouts say the late 1998 birthdate, who still has a raw or unrefined quality to his game, likely projects as a top four NHL defenseman. But they’ll be curious to see if there’s greater upside there. — Bob McKenzie"

I’m curious to see if there is more upside as well. However, the Avs don’t really need to draft another right shooting defenseman who’s only going to top out as a top four defender.

So, it will be interesting to see where he ranks in the final prospect rankings come summer time. Right now though, the Avs should be targeting Timothy Liljegren.


Game changing defensemen don’t just fall in your lap, you’re rarely able to trade for them, and you rarely find them outside of the first round.

Duncan Siemens has not been good, but he hasn’t really been given a chance either. Still, I can see why the Avs may have shied away from d-men recently after how Siemens has turned out.

Nonetheless, both Liljegren and Foote have some serious upside, and Liljegren should most certainly develop into a top pairing defenseman.

The fact of the matter is that the Avalanche have some serious young talent coming up in the forward ranks, but they are lacking severely when it comes to defensemen.

Next: Avs Should Trade for Defensive Stud

Nikita Zadorov still needs to figure things out, Chris Bigras is still developing, and Nicolas Meloche will probably be a top four defender at best.

It’s time for the Avs to take a risk on a defenseman in the top ten, and that time is during this year’s 2017 NHL draft.