Colorado Avalanche: Ranking the Top 5 Prospects for #4 Pick

1 of 7

Like any team, the Colorado Avalanche have a list of players they want to take in the 2017 NHL Draft. These five prospects are likely their top choices.

The Colorado Avalanche will be selecting fourth-overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Colorado Avalanche had the worst regular season record by a margin of 20 points. The Colorado Avalanche must nonetheless wait until #4 to make a selection at the draft.

Clearly some of us are trying to come to terms with that.

In any case, as GM Joe Sakic pointed out in the Denver Post:

"“We’re confident with this draft, that there’s going to be a good player there at four.”"

This year’s draft has been called less than stellar. The top two picks, Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, are thought to be more like numbers three and four in the previous two years’ drafts.

More than that, after Patrick and Hischier, no one can really agree on a draft order. In truth, it’s thought that from the #3 pick on (which belongs to the Dallas Stars, who finished with 31 more points than the Avalanche, not that I’m bitter), teams will be drafting for need.

More from Mile High Sticking

The knee-jerk reaction is that the Colorado Avalanche need a defenseman. That is certainly true, and they may consider drafting a defenseman with the fourth-overall pick.

However, the team was also dead-last in goal differential last year with an ugly -112. Obviously they need some scoring help, too.

As the current roster stands, the team has two legitimate top-two centers in Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon with Tyson Jost waiting in the wings. I wouldn’t exactly call that deep, especially if Colorado really is going to trade Duchene. So, a centerman might be a desire. I don’t think they’d turn their nose up at a scoring winger either.

The new team commitment seems to be sacrificing size for speed (if necessary — I’m not saying they’re deliberately going smaller). That’s not to say size is completely devalued, just that speed is more important. Backchecking is also important, tough I wouldn’t go so far as to say two-way play is prioritized by the team.

Those observations are based on interviews by Joe Sakic (speed) and Jared Bednar (backchecking) as well as my own observations of moves the team made this year.

So, with those ideals in mind, let’s look at how the Colorado Avalanche may have ranked players they could potentially choose at #4. Since Patrick and Hischier are highly unlikely to drop to that position, I’m not going to add them to the list.