Colorado Avalanche Roundtable on 2017 NHL Draft: #4 Pick

Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Tyson Jost poses for a photo after being selected as the number ten overall draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Tyson Jost poses for a photo after being selected as the number ten overall draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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Who will it piss you off if the Avs pick him 4th-overall?

For the third question, I asked the writers who they thought the Colorado Avalanche might choose against better advice.

Funnily enough, Ross disagreed with Mark, Daniel and me:

I would be pretty upset if the Avs drafted Owen Tippett at No. 4 overall. I just don’t think he is the type of player they should be targeting. His game is a bit one-dimensional, he’s not the best skater and he’s been criticized for his inability to play a strong defensive game. He is not the type of player the Avs need to be drafting considering the direction they want to take this team.

I have faith that Joe Sakic will go for a player like Mittelstadt or Vilardi over Tippett, but if he doesn’t, I might rage ever so slightly.

Mark had his own ideas:

Cal Foote. Yes, he’s Adam Foote’s kid, and he’s a good player, but he’s not a top-5 pick. If Sakic lets nostalgia get the better of him, I will be an incumbent ball of fury.

Daniel picked up on two of my favorites from this draft — Gabe Vilardi and Eeli Tolvanen:

3) Casey Mittelstadt (C), Gabriel Vilardi (C) or Eeli Tolvanen (RW)

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I couldn’t limit myself to just one player here, because unlike past drafts, the players haven’t really distinguished themselves from one another. That’s not to say they’re bad (they’re not), rather that the talent levels are much closer than previous years and that there are more candidates to be chosen at #4 than usual.

Realistically, I think only Mittelstadt or Vilardi are in danger of being picked in #4 spot. Tolvanen is more likely to be drafted in the 7 – 14 range. Personally, I think Tolvanen just flat out isn’t as good as the some of the other players who will be available, which is why I would be pretty pissed if Colorado drafted him at #4. He would be a candidate to draft if the Avs decided to trade down.

Vilardi and Mittelstadt on the other hand have made legitimate cases to be drafted at #4.

Vilardi isn’t a bad player by any means. As I said previously I think there’s a decent chance that Dallas takes him at #3 since they need centres just as much if not more than defensemen. The reason I would be upset if the Avs drafted him is because he doesn’t fit their team identity.

Throughout the organization we’ve heard that the Avs want to be a team that plays with pace. In order to do that, you need some really good skaters on the roster. That’s just not who Vilardi is, he’s a lethargic skater who is more suited to play an East – West style of game rather than North – South. An additional concern is that he shot at 19.33% which is pretty high, but I don’t think he’ll be an effective player at the NHL level. He’d just be miscast in Colorado.

Mittelstadt is an interesting player, and I’ve read some scouting reports that say he’s the best player in the draft, and that includes Nolan Patrick. I haven’t watched a ton of video on him, but scouts rave about his dynamic playmaking and puckhandling abilities.

What I found concerning about him is that he has some big red flags when you crunch the stats. Mittelstadt shot at 21.67% this past season, which is very high. It could be argued that he’s that good, but I’m of the opinion that its more likely to be unsustainable. His shooting percentage will likely regress closer to the 15% range in junior.

Even more concerning is that a whopping 60% of his points came on the power play, suggesting that he might be reliant upon it. The good news is that almost all of his points were primary points, but for me, that doesn’t outweigh the risks associated with drafting him at #4.

Joey had a unique take on the question:

It wouldn’t piss me off if Sakic took Glass, Tolvanen, Mittelstadt or Heiskanen at 4th but it would piss me off if Sakic traded up.

Former staff writer Will Radke chose to weigh in only on this one question:

I see Casey Mittelstadt play quite a bit as I coach at an adjacent organization. And while Casey is obviously a phenomenal player, I don’t think he cracks the top 10 or maybe even 15 in most years’ drafts. The fact that he’s even in these talks is enough for me to be somewhat disinterested in the draft.

For myself, what will anger me more than anything is if the Colorado Avalanche try to get cute and choose a player they think is the diamond in the rough no one else values. Number four isn’t the result we wanted from the Draft Lottery, but it’s still a pretty high pick. I don’t want them to go all Conner Bleackley with it. (No offense, I’m sure he’s lovely, but he was a bust of a first rounder three years ago.)

To that end, I think it would be a mistake to choose the current darling defenseman, Cale Makar. When I scouted him, he reminded me of a glorified Tyson Barrie. We already have Tyson Barrie — we don’t need 2.0. Yes, Makar could be the next Erik Karlsson. Truthfully, though, he’s small and one-dimensional — he could just be another first-round bust.

I’d like to see the Avalanche play it safe with the fourth-overall. But I also don’t want them to choose Casey Mittelstadt. I feel bad for the kid that he couldn’t do a single pull up and only one bench press — that had to be embarrassing. But, sheesh, you know the Combine is coming up — why don’t your train for it? To my mind, that speaks to his conditioning and his overall commitment to excellence.