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

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4. Miro Heiskanen

2016-17 Team: HIFK (Liiga)
Date of Birth: July 18, 1999 (17 years old)
Ht: 6′
Wt: 174 lbs
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left

If the Colorado Avalanche draft a defenseman in the first round, their top prospect is sure to be Miro Heiskanen.

The young (just 17) defenseman is already playing in the top men’s league in Finland. He’s considered an elite two-way defenseman with excellent skating and agility. Elite Prospects calls him a “confident puck mover with no issues running a play himself and starting a transition up-ice.”

Future Considerations praises his speed and lateral agility. The site also calls attention to his “impressive vision” and “strong awareness defensively.”

Dennis Schellenberg of Hockey Prospectus remarks that Heiskanen “processes the game extremely well under pressure.”

In short, he’s consistently smart with the puck.

As I stated in my draft profile of Miro Heiskanen, he’s my favorite kind of defenseman. I like players who are good in every zone and who play smart with the puck.

In general, though, the Colorado Avalanche have been shying away from drafting defensemen high in the draft — the Duncan Siemens debacle (11th-overall in 2011, 3 NHL games) certainly hasn’t sweetened them to the idea. And though fourth-overall isn’t as high as we all wanted, it’s still pretty high.

What’s more, it’s thought the Dallas Stars actually will draft Heiskanen with their (stolen) third-overall pick. So, though the Avalanche are sure to have him on their draft list (and probably higher than Tolvanen), it seems unlikely they’ll actually draft him.