Colorado Avalanche: Fury Over 2017 Draft Lottery

Apr 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Linesman Steve Barton (59) looks on as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) and Minnesota Wild center Ryan White (21) fight in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Linesman Steve Barton (59) looks on as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) and Minnesota Wild center Ryan White (21) fight in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche lost one more time, this time in the 2017 NHL Draft, falling all the way to #4.


Yes, I had to type that in all caps because that’s the way the fact has been screaming through my head since the lottery order skipped over the Dallas Stars and I realized the Colorado Avalanche had dropped down to #4.

Right now Avs fans are trying to console themselves. This wasn’t a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews draft year. Imagine how much worse it was to be the Buffalo Sabres a couple years ago and watch the generational talent of McDavid slip away to a team that had won so many first-overall draft picks recently. So not fair.

Nolan Patrick — or Nico Hischier — wasn’t a generational player. Either of those players will benefit his team — the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers respectively. But he’s not a franchise maker.

What’s more, after the season the Colorado Avalanche had, how can you be surprised that a team with 20 more points then them (Philadelphia) is picking two spots ahead? Of course they found another way to lose.

And that’s where I get furious. It’s not time to console ourselves. It’s time to get furious. We had a dumpster fire of a season followed by an NHL Draft Lottery that almost seemed rigged in how far against the Colorado Avalanche it went! WHY is failure the most Avalanche thing?

Personally, here’s my response, as expressed on Twitter:

We shouldn’t even accept mediocrity, much less failure. Here’s how I want to see a player “accepting” failure:

I want to see him so consumed with fury that he can’t even access the gentility that’s been bred into him. That is a player whose fire will push him to keep going even when he thinks the tank is empty.

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That acceptance of nothing less than excellence is what had the Chicago Blackhawks starting to trim the fat after an embarrassing first-round sweep. They fired some of their coaching staff and traded backup goalie Scott Darling.

This was a fire the Colorado Avalanche used to have. Remember when they fired coach Bob Hartley because they got off to a 10–8–9–4 start? That was just a year after they had won the Stanley Cup under Hartley’s coaching. 31 games in they decided one game over 500 hockey was so unacceptable they had to relieve their Stanley Cup coach of his duties.

That record was 33 points in 31 games. Last season’s points total was just 15 more in a full 82 games.

I know many readers will be angry that I’m going here yet again, thinking I’m picking on poor Jared Bednar because I have a Patrick Roy fetish. No, I don’t hate Jared Bednar just because he isn’t Patrick Roy. I hate seeing my team accept losing.

Because a losing mentality breeds more losing. Poor Jared Bednar? Why? What has Bednar ever done for the Colorado Avalanche that he deserves a better shot at winning? He’s won at the lower levels of hockey? Yippee doo da.

Bob Hartley coached the actual Colorado Avalanche to Stanley Cup victory and still got fired for coaching them to only a single game over 500 hockey a little over a year later. That’s not fair, but that’s a commitment to excellence.

Because guess what, Avs Nation. It isn’t all up from here. The 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques had a 31-point season (just 12 wins) followed by a 46-point season (just 16 wins) followed by a 52-point season (just 20 wins). And those were teams that had Joe Sakic.

I love me some Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, but not a one of them is  a Joe Sakic level of talent.

There’s nothing we can do about any of the decision-making the Colorado Avalanche actually do. None of us has a direct line to Joe Sakic or Josh Kroenke to tell them what to do. But, hey, Patrick Roy did, and that didn’t work out so well. Those two are going to do what they’re going to do.

But don’t accept failure, Avs fandom. Be furious that the Colorado Avalanche dropped all the way to the #4 pick. Watch Jared Bednar and, yes, even Joe Sakic with squinted eyes ready to judge if the Avs go on a losing skid. Purse your lips and roll your eyes like Jack Eichel in full-blown teen mode (yes, I know he’s 20, but that was still teen mode) if the Avalanche look ready to maintain the status quo.

Next: Avs Win #4 Pick in Draft

Demand excellence of the Colorado Avalanche. Join me in shaking my fist at the hockey gods for robbing the Avs of a top-three draft pick.

And then console yourself that it wasn’t a Connor McDavid/Auston Matthews year and maybe next season really will be better. Because as sports fans we must be eternal optimists to avoid becoming fatalistic.