Colorado Avalanche Should Take a Flyer on Jack Ahcan in 2017 NHL Draft

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

The Colorado Avalanche have a chance to change their future with some good picks in this year’s draft. One of the picks they should consider is Jack Ahcan.

A strong draft in 2017 will be extremely valuable to the Colorado Avalanche and their rebuild, which is why they should spend one of their draft picks on Jack Ahcan (pronounced uh-SHAWN).

I know what you might be thinking — unless you’ve consistently been watching St. Cloud State games — who is Jack Ahcan? Well, the picks for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) All-Rookie Team were just released, and Ahcan was the only unanimous pick.

Tyson Jost was also selected, but he was not selected unanimously, if that puts things into perspective.

The only thing is, Jack Ahcan has gone through the NHL entry draft twice already, and this will be his final year of eligibility. However, he’s still only 19 years old, and won’t be 20 until May, after the conclusion of the NCAA season.

Ahcan is not undesirable because he’s passed through the draft twice already, he’s undesirable because of his lack of size. In fact, he’s listed at only 5 foot 8 and 183 pounds.

His size is why he’s been passed on twice already, but if the Avs were smart, they wouldn’t let him go through the draft unselected three times.

What Does Jack Ahcan Bring to the Table?

Well, Ahcan is an amazing skater for starters. He has a high level of skill and agility, and his edge work is fantastic. And, he can put up points from the blueline.

In 30 games for St. Cloud State this season, Ahcan has five goals and 21 points. He was also a healthy scratch in their first game, and he missed three games because he was part of the gold medal winning US team in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Ahcan wasn’t THAT inspiring at the World Junior Championship, with just 1 assist in seven games, but he played steady hockey for the US club. And, he’s finally being noticed for his play, after going two years without being drafted:

So, he’s likely to be a third to fifth round selection at this point, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Avs take a flyer on him in the third round.

Unfortunately, Jack Ahcan has another thing working against him other than his size, it’s also the position he plays with his size.

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You see, he’s a defenseman, and there aren’t many defensemen who have success in the NHL at such a small stature.

However, the game is getting faster, and it’s more based on skill than it ever has been. So, taking a risk on a defenseman like Jack Ahcan could turn out really well for the Avalanche.


The Colorado Avalanche made waves in last year’s draft by targeting three players committed to playing in college. Tyson Jost was their first selection, Cam Morrison was their second selection and Nathan Clurman was their sixth selection.

So, they are certainly not averse to picking college players, as they used to be in other recent drafts.

Which is why it makes even more sense for the Avs to draft Jack Ahcan. Teams make their living in the draft, that’s a plain and simple fact. And, when teams take risks on players in late rounds, it often works out.

Jamie Benn was a fifth round selection by the Dallas Stars in 2007. Johnny Gaudreau was a fourth round selection in 2011 by the Calgary Flames. And, Dustin Byfuglien was drafted in the eight round by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003.

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It’s time for the Avs to take a risk on a player who has a lot of upside, fits the mold of the way the NHL is going and can be developed over time.

That’s perhaps the most enticing feature of Ahcan — the Avs don’t need to rush him into any opportunites. They have plenty of defensive prospects in their system currently, and can afford to wait on a player like Ahcan.

He’ll either develop into that type of game-changing dynamic small statured player the NHL is valuing more and more with each day, or he won’t. But even if he doesn’t, he still will be a very valuable asset on either the bottom pairing, or as an AHL stalwart.

Jack Ahcan makes a lot of sense for a bunch of clubs, but he makes the most sense for the Avalanche, a team drastically lacking defensive depth. Why not take a chance on a player who has an elite skill set, but just lacks the traditional size of NHL defensemen?