I like to say that I don’t have a direct line to GM Joe Sakic, so it’s not like my opinion matters. Of course, Patrick Roy did have a direct line, and it still didn’t matter, so…
Anyway, I wrote a draft profile on all of the above players and reconsidered them for this list. In doing the research, I certainly developed my own preferences. And, hey, for all I know I tapped into the Colorado Avalanche’s mind set.
Therefore, as an armchair scout, this is how I’d make the list:
- Gabriel Vilardi: The Colorado Avalanche need a combination of player types. I liked what I saw when I watched him play — he’s a responsible player who makes his presence known on the ice. I also like that he elevates his teammates’ play — to me that gives him an edge in modern hockey.
- Eeli Tolvanen: He is so exciting to watch. His dynamic skating and soft hands seem like such a good fit for the new direction the team is going in. I really want to see him on a line with Nathan MacKinnon.
- Owen Tippett: It was tough choosing Tolvanen over Tippett because O.T. is also exciting to watch. Maybe there’s just a little less dynamism to his skating than Eeli’s, but, boy, is his stickhandling beautiful. I will not be sad if Colorado chooses Tippett.
- Casey Mittelstadt: Watching Mittelstadt play, his style reminds me a little of Erik Johnson’s, so it pains me to drop him to #4 on my personal draft list. Honestly, I wish he’d played college hockey last year so his development would be farther along — and he’d be NHL-ready sooner. However, Casey is a very good player, and I think he could well be the one the Avs choose.
- Miro Heiskenan: Here’s another player who plays hockey responsibly. He’s not the flashiest player on the ice, but he plays a 200-foot game. He could really benefit the Avalanche blueline, though he’d take some development time.
Next: Expansion Draft can Determine Entry Draft for Avs
A note on Cody Glass:
Cody Glass is a very good player. He’s known for great puck possession and great hockey sense. However, he’s not considered elite either in his skating or his stick handling. While he’s a great two-way center, that’s not what the Colorado Avalanche have been emphasizing in the new system.
Like I said in my draft profile of Glass, if this were two years ago, I’d have Cody Glass pegged as a prime prospect. However, he’s not scouted as high as #4, and he doesn’t fit the team’s new mold well enough for them draft below their position. Therefore, I speculate the team will choose one of the above players over Cody, and for my preferences that’s the right call to make.