The Colorado Avalanche still have six 2017 NHL Draft picks left. Here are some options for the second round.
The first round of the Colorado Avalanche’s 2017 NHL Draft is over. The team wanted defenseman Miro Heiskanen, but they ended up with defenseman Cale Makar. Only time will tell how that plays out.
I predicted the Avs wouldn’t choose a defenseman in the first round. Turns out I was wrong. Well, now I’m going to use this new information to predict who the Colorado Avalanche select with their second round selection, #32.
This pick seems pretty important for the team. As Avs amateur scout Alan Hepple pointed out, the first pick in the second round is almost a first round pick.
Indeed, there are several prospects I thought would go in the first round who are still available. As the Avs have the first pick in the second round, it does, indeed, feel that way.
So, let’s look at who Colorado might choose with the #32 pick.
Defenseman Nic Hague was my dream pick for the second round in that I was certain he wouldn’t fall to the #32 pick. He’s a big player at 6-foot-6, 214 pounds. But he’s quick on those big feet with a long, fluid stride.
The reason I want the Colorado Avalanche to draft Hague is he has the solid two-way play the team desperately needs. You can’t make up a team on offense alone. Hague is physical and smart in how he plays the game.
Hague was scouted as the #20 North American skater by Central Scouting and #20 overall by Future Considerations.
While I wouldn’t normally expect the Colorado Avalanche to choose two defensemen in a row, the team is in dire need of d-men. Nicolas Hague is definitely on the team’s radar.
Left wing Isaac Ratcliffe is another big player — 6-foot-5, 195 pounds — who was expected to go first round. He has the powerful stride common of tall players, which gives him good acceleration.
Ratcliffe is the type of player who sets up office in front of the net and gets most of his point there. He’s also a monster on the walls. What’s more, he operates well in tight spaces. He also has a touch of a mean streak.
Ratcliffe was scouted as the #15 North American skater by Central Scouting and #23 overall by Future Considerations.
One or two years ago, Colorado would have drafted Isaac Ratcliffe for sure. While he’s another player who wasn’t expected to drop to the second round, I would expect the Avs to take Hague before Ratcliffe.
Center/left wing Maxime Comtois is another player I didn’t think much about because I didn’t expect him to drop out of the first round. The 6-foot-2, 201 pound prospect is a decent skater who needs to improve his initial acceleration. He does have nice top-end speed.
What makes Comtois intriguing is his goal scoring. He’s a shooter with a lot in his arsenal. What’s more, he’s known for being poised and smart. He’s the type of player who plays a 200-foot game.
Comtois was ranked as the #30 North American skater and #24 overall by Future Considerations.
The skating might give the Avs pause — they want speed, and they proved that by drafting defenseman Cale Makar. However, he’s got the smarts and skills the team values. I’d rather see the team fill more blueline needs with Hague, but Comtois would be a good pick at #32.
If the Colorado Avalanche don’t draft defenseman Nic Hague, they may go Conor Timmins. He’s a 6-foot-1, 183-pound prospect with a cool head. He sees the game very well.
Timmins is known for being a very good skater with quick acceleration and smooth agility. What’s more, he has strong playmaking abilities. Yet he’s a physical defenseman who likes to grind in the corners.
Conor Timmins was ranked #18 for North American skaters and #44 overall by Future Considerations.
Timmins definitely seems in the Colorado Avalanche mold of players. I could see the team spending their #32 pick on them if they don’t mind choosing two defensemen in a row.
Though the Avs said they’d draft best available at #32, I could see them drafting for need — and they need a right wing. Kole Lind is the best right wing available, and he fits in the Colorado Avalanche mold.
Lind is an excellent skater with good top-end speed and great agility. He can set up plays but also score goals. He’s known for being smart and having good puck skills. He’s got mad passing game.
Kole Lind was ranked as the #23 North American skater and #38 overall by Future Considerations.
With his skating and offensive ability, Lind is definitely on the Colorado Avalanche’s radar. Right wing is a position they need to fill, so drafting Kole Lind at #32 might be a reality.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
If the Colorado Avalanche decide to play it safe with a center, they might settle on Jaret Anderson-Dolan. He’s got the skating skills Colorado praises in that he’s balanced and agile with great acceleration.
The 5-foot-11, Anderson-Dolan is a versatile center with grit and also finesse stick skills. He’s known for his vision and a release with high velocity. Young Jaret is only 17 — he won’t turn 18 until September 12.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan is ranked at #21 for North American skaters by Central Scouting and #43 overall by Future Considerations.
The Colorado Avalanche seem pretty set at center for now, but Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s versatility may be intriguing to the team. I’d say he’s definitely on their radar.
Second only to Nic Hague in my list of potential second rounders in center Aleksi Heponiemi. He’s small, but he’s like a bullet on the ice — actually, Future Considerations likens him to the Energizer Bunny. Scout Bill Placzek describes his skating as “figure skater like control in his dashes and darts.”
The Finnish-born and trained Heponiemi also has elite puck skills. He’s able to stickhandle in a phone booth and make tape to tape passes thorough tight openings. He’s also got a wicked wrist shot.
Aleksi Heponiemi is ranked at #26 for North American skaters by Central Scouting and #76 overall by Future Considerations.
Though Aleksi Heponiemi is not as highly ranked as some other players, neither was Cale Makar. Like Makar, Heponiemi has the complete package Colorado wants. If they don’t choose Nic Hague, I hope they opt for Heponiemi.
The Colorado Avalanche had seven picks going into the 2017 NHL Draft. They have thus far not been able to translate those picks into more selections via trade.
However, if the opportunity presents itself, I could see the Avs trading the #32 pick for a later second rounder and a third rounder, which the team currently doesn’t have.
As of right now, it does not appear that GM Joe Sakic is in a hurry to trade center Matt Duchene. To my mind, the rumors that the center is looking for a fresh start are overblown. They started with a reluctant admittance that he’d accept a trade if it occurred — what else could he do considering he’s been the subject of trade rumors going on two years now.
I praise the decision to keep Duchene. This isn’t the Ryan O’Reilly situation in which you had prima donna demands. Matt is a humble, team-first guy.
In any case, Colorado might try to translate their remaining picks into more picks or prospects.
Thus far the 2017 NHL Draft has been surprising. We’ll see what the remaining rounds bring for the Colorado Avalanche and other teams.