Colorado Avalanche Analysis: 2018 Draft Rounds Four to Seven

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Tyler Weiss greets his team after being selected 109th overall by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Tyler Weiss greets his team after being selected 109th overall by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche had a total of eight picks in the 2018 NHL Draft. They used the final half of the draft to fill out their depth.

The Colorado Avalanche had five draft picks in the second half of the draft, rounds four through seven. The team used those picks to continue to build their depth pool in the needed positions.

With the five remaining picks, the Avalanche added a wing/center, another wing, another center, a defenseman and another goalie. As you can see, that’s a good range of positions. That puts their grand total to five forwards (3 wings, 1 center, 1 hyrbrid), two goalies and a defenseman in eight picks.

The Avs must be relying pretty heavily on their scouting in Europe. In this year’s draft the team chose five Europeans — a Czech, a Finn and three Russians. And one of their three remaining prospects, Sampo Ranta, is originally from Finland but has been training in the U.S. for the last two years. They rounded out with one Canadian and American.

I already did individual profiles on the Colorado Avalanche’s first three picks:

Let’s look at the rest of the team’s haul for the day.

Fourth Round, #109, Tyler Weiss

2017-18 Team: U.S. National U18 Team
Date of Birth: Jan. 3, 2000 (18 years old)
Ht: 5’11″
Wt: 150 lbs.
Position: Left wing/Center
Shoots: Left

Ranked #85 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #59 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #90 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #91 by TSN/McKenzie

More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche selected their first North American with the #109 pick, forward Tyler Weiss. Weiss has been with the prestigious US National Development Program. He played on a very stacked team last season and still earned 31 points in 58 games with limited ice time.

As you will quickly see, Tyler Weiss is small. One of the scouts even joked that he thought he was meeting an 11-year-old! His height isn’t bad at 5-foot-11, but 150 pounds is slight. That said, he’ll keep growing for the next couple years, hopefully putting on some muscle weight for strength.

Weiss will be at the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season.

Tyler comes with a really interesting story. His older brother, Ryan, also played hockey. Well, as we all know, hockey is an expensive sport that only gets pricier the better you get. Well, the Weiss finances weren’t going to be able to swing paying for hockey for Ryan and Tyler when the boys were 15 and 13 respectively.

That’s crunch time, when there are a lot of equipment expenses, ice time commitments, and so much travel. The family had a new baby, and they were stretched.

It could have ended there. For many hopefuls, the story ends there. Grooming an NHLer can cost six figures over the course of the years. Well, that wasn’t how Ryan Weiss wanted things to end for his younger brother, who showed a lot of talent. According to the Athletic, Ryan gave up hockey so that Tyler could keep playing.

And five years later, Tyler gets drafted.

There’s no guarantee that the Avalanche will sign Tyler Weiss much less give him some NHL time. However, he’s at least got a shot at the big time thanks to his brother.

Let’s all collectively pull for the little guy, eh, Avs Nation?

Fifth Round, #140, Brandon Saigeon

2017-18 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs
Date of Birth: Jun. 14, 1998 (20 years old)
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 194 lbs.
Position: Center
Shoots: Left

Ranked #147 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

Center Brandon Saigeon is an overage player who went undrafted the last two years. The lone Canadian for the Avs this year, he’s been playing in the Hamilton Bulldogs’ system at least since 2011-12. He did scoot over to the Belleville Bulls of the OHL in the 2014-15 season before the whole team moved to Hamiltion to play the last three seasons with the Bulldogs.

It’s understandable why Saigeon went undrafted the first year he was eligible, recording a 14-point season in 43 games. The next season he put up better numbers — 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 66 games, but that wasn’t enough to wow scouts apparently.

Well, his performance last season was. He recorded 70 points (35 goals, 35 assists) in 65 games while wearing the A for the Bulldogs. He led his Bulldogs to the OHL Championship, scoring a league-leading 18 goals in 21 playoff games.

Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey scouts Saigeon thus:

"“Saigeon is a big forward who has improved his skating over the years. He is not afraid to play a physical game and get to the front of the net. Saigeon battles hard in the corners and is strong in the cycle game. He also has a good wrist shot and release.”"

Skating continues to be an area of concern for Saigeon. However, Hamilton play-by-play announcer is pretty high on the Brandon:

According to Jesse Montano of BSN Avalanche, the team chose him because he consistently improved each year. Moving forward, Brandon Saigeon can jump straight to the AHL or play an overage year in the OHL.

Brandon Saigeon in action:

Fifth Round, #146, Danila Zhuravlyov*

2017-18 Team: Irbis Kazan (MHL)
Date of Birth: Apr. 8, 2000
Ht: 6’0″
Wt: 163
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left

Ranked #67 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #131 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #50 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)

The lone defenseman the Colorado Avalanche selected was Danila Zhuravlyov. And he’s small. Not quite Tyler Weiss small, but pretty diminutive.

Zhuravlyov played 28 games for the Irbis Kazan last season. As a 17-year-old defenseman, he tallied nine goals and nine assists. In five games with the Russian U-18 team last year, he had five assists.

According to BSN Avalanche, scouts love his transitional play and “untapped offensive potential.” They also find him to be an “impressive skater.”

This was a bit of a house money pick since it came from the Penguins. The Avs got a proper third-rounder in Brandon Saigeon — they could afford to take a flyer on the Russian kid.

*This pick was the second of two picks the Avalanche received in trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sixth Round, #171, Nikolai Kovalenko

2017-18 Team
Date of Birth: Oct 17, 1999
Ht: 5’10”
Wt: 174 lbs
Position: Right wing
Shoots: Left

Ranked #159 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #33 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)

If you’ve been around Avs Nation very long, you’ll think the name Kovalenko looks familiar. I kept trying to place it, wondering if was just too much resembled our breakable rookie from last year, Vladislav Kamenev.

Nope. The name Kovalenko looks familiar because his dad, Andrei Kovalenko, once played for the Avs. He played right wing for 26 games for the Colorado Avalanche in their inaugural season (earning 11 goals and 11 assists) before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens as, you guessed it, part of the Patrick Roy deal.

Another interesting tidbit about the newest Kovalenko is he’s like Sampo Ranta in reverse. He was born in the U.S. — Raleigh, North Carolina while his dad was with the Carolina Hurricanes — but he grew up in Russia.

In 33 games with the Loko Yaroslavl last season, Kovalenk earned 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists). He’s expected to play in Russia next season for the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Seventh Round, #202, Shamil Shmakov

2017-18 Team: Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk
Date of Birth: Jul. 27, 1999
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 192 lbs
Position: Goalie
Catches: Left

Yep, Shamil Shmakov is a real name. And, yep, he’s the lanky sort of goalie that’s in vogue in today’s NHL.

The Colorado Avalanche completed their 2018 NHL Draft by choosing a second goalie — also yep, Colorado chose two goalies in this year’s draft. They haven’t chosen two goalies in a single draft since 2010, when they chose Calvin Pickard in the second round and Sami Aittokallio in the fourth.

That would have gone well for the Avs if Vegas weren’t such poop heads, but moving on.

Anyway, Shmakov put up good numbers in the MHL last season. In and impressive 51 games, he recorded a 2.03 goals against average and .932 save percentage.

That’s about all we know about our funnily named draft pick. Here’s a tweet about him:

That’s some high praise from, ah, that’s some high praise.

Next: Avs Make Draft-Day Trade

Anyway, the Colorado Avalanche have put themselves in a good position moving forward. They’ve acquired depth at the positions in which they were lacking. Any draft pick is a lottery ticket, and we won’t know the success of this draft for years to come. However, I like what the team did this year.