Colorado Avalanche Win the 4th Overall Pick in 2019 Draft Lottery

The Colorado Avalanche, via the Ottawa Senators, dropped from first-overall to fourth-overall in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery.

The Colorado Avalanche dropped three spots from first to third because of the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. That may not seem like they “won” the lottery — since they did, in fact, lose it.

If you know me, you can well imagine that my response to the Avalanche dropping for the second time in three years from first to fourth incited hot-headed rage. I’m still salty about the 2017 draft lottery because the Avalanche were coming off that dreadful 48-point season, so the drop felt like a kick in the teeth.

This year is much different. The first-overall wasn’t a result of our record. Rather, the first-rounder was the icing on the cake of what Ottawa and Nashville sent over in exchange for Matt Duchene:

  • Samuel Girard (150 games for the Avs)
  • Shane Bowers (just signed his ELC)
  • Vladislav Kamenev (Well…)
  • Nashville’s 2018 second-round pick*
  • Ottawa’s 2018/2019 first-round pick**
  • Ottawa’s 2019 third-round pick
  • Andrew Hammond (won a playoff game for us)

*Colorado traded that second-round pick for a third-rounder (#64) and a fifth-rounder (#146). They used the #64 pick on goalie Justus Annunen and the #146 pick on  defenseman Danila Zhuravlyov.

**Ottawa had the choice to give the pick to the Avs in 2018 or put it off until 2019. They chose the latter.

Sam Girard is the future of our blueline along with Cale Makar when he signs. Shane Bowers might be a serviceable bottom-six forward — we’ll have to see what he does with the Eagles. GM Joe Sakic turned Nashville’s low second-rounder (#58) into two picks just by dropping six positions — which means little in late-second, early-third drafting.

And the Hammburgler winning that playoff game was super fun for us, eh, Avs Nation?

All of that was pretty adequate return for Duchene. Everything else is just gravy. Heck, we may yet get some use out of Vlad Kamenev if he stays healthy.

Also consider the circumstances of this year’s draft lottery vs. the one in 2017. We’re not coming off the worst record in the cap era. We’re heading to Calgary for the first round of the playoffs. We have the hottest line in the NHL. Roses are blooming in Colorado.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’m not at least a little salty about the results of the draft lottery. I think it’s utterly ridiculous that a team can be contending for the playoffs up until April (Chicago Blackhawks) and yet jump to the top-three with their own pick.

You also have to start questioning how fair the proceedings are. Word came out that the image of the top-three picks had been leaked 20 minutes before the draft order was announced:

It’s even said that the draft lottery is rigged, especially since two big-market teams — the Hawks and the New York Rangers — hopped up to the top-three. However, concerning the leak, only the announcement is live. The balls are chosen a little earlier in front of the GMs.

And, since the balls are pulled in front of the GMs, it’s hard to think the lottery can be rigged. Rather, it just seems to be weighted badly. After all, the worst team in the NHL has a 50.6% chance of dropping out of the top-three. That’s slightly better odds than winning in Vegas. (I don’t mean the Knights.)

As Altitude announcer Marc Moser points out, the lottery system was put into place to discourage teams from tanking, which is something the Toronto Maple Leafs used to do to the point of abuse. However, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. The worst team in the NHL shouldn’t have a greater than 50% chance of dropping out of the top-three.

I’d say it’s fair for the worst NHL team to have only a 50% chance at the first-overall. If they drop, it should only be to second-overall because only the first would be part of the lottery. No way a team challenging for the playoffs into late March should have such a good chance at earning a top-three draft pick.

Anyway, the Colorado Avalanche have the fourth-overall selection. There is no general consensus on who that pick might be, but here are some of the prospects ranked about there:

  • Dylan Cozens, center
  • Bowen Byram, defenseman
  • Alex Turcotte, Center
  • Kirby Dach, center
  • Vasily Podkolzin, right wing
  • Trevor Zegras, Center

We’ll explore those players and others. Remember, the Avs sometimes like to draft off the board, too.

However, for now, we’ve got some playoff hockey to get ready for.