The Colorado Avalanche lost out on two players who could be immediate difference-makers for their draft team.
The Colorado Avalanche are set up well the 2019 NHL Draft. They have eight picks, including two in the first round. The only round in which they won’t pick is the fourth, which they traded to the Nashville Predators for Colin Wilson.
Naturally, one of the first-round picks is also the result of a trade. As one of the many pieces of the Matt Duchene trade, Colorado received the Ottawa Senators’ first-round selection.
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Because of how Ottawa finished the season –dead-last in the NHL — Colorado should have had a top-three pick. However, thanks to the vagaries of the Draft Lottery, which the Avs lost again, they’ll be picking fourth (again) with Ottawa’s selection.
Here is the full draft order for Colorado in 2019:
#4 (from Ottawa)
#62 (also from Ottawa)
That’s not a bad haul, not by a long shot. Those picks should help the Avalanche continue to fill the coffers. However, because they once again lost the Draft Lottery, Colorado is also losing out on the top two picks.
As we begin our 2019 NHL Draft coverage, let’s look at those two prospects who will not be coming to Colorado.
2018-19 Team: US National U-18 Team, USDP
Date of Birth: May 14, 2001 (18 years old)
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranked #1 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #1 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #1 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #1 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #1 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #1 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #1 by TSN/McKenzie
As you can see, Jack Hughes is universally pegged as the number-one pick in this year’s draft.
Here’s what scouts are saying about Hughes:
“Turbo-charged center with blinding speed and fantastic vision who has dominated his peers at every level. Hughes is an excellent playmaker with hawk-like vision who can perfectly time passes to linemates over long distances, especially off the rush.” ~The Draft Analyst
“Hughes marries his elite skating with the soft and quick hands to handle the puck and make quick moves while skating at that top speed. Jack Hughes also has an accurate shot and quick release. ” Last Word on Hockey
Praise is even more effusive than the above samples. However, as I mentioned Colorado lost the Hughes Lottery by losing the Draft Lottery. Pity — he would have been an excellent complement to the pieces we already have in place. And he likely would have enjoyed Colorado more than New Jersey.
2018-19 Team: TPS, Liiga
Date of Birth: Feb 13, 2001 (18 years old)
Weight: 192 lbs.
Position: Right wing
Ranked #2 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #2 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #2 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #2 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #1 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #2 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #2 by TSN/McKenzie
As you can see, Kakko is universally scouted to go at the second position. Granted, this could be a similar situation as the last time Colorado lost the Draft Lottery, 2017, in which the first and second selections get flipped. However, we have neither of those picks, so we’re not impacted.
Anyway, here’s what scouts say about the Finnish forward:
“A quick-thinking winger, Kakko never seems to be in a rush. He reads the game exceptionally well and finds himself a step ahead while the play is still developing…With decent size for a player of his age, Kakko protects the puck well and uses his high hockey IQ to make smart offensive plays. He plays a mature game and is already strong enough to compete with men in the Finnish Liiga.” ~Matias Strozyk, 2018
Note: TPS in the Finnish Liiga was Mikko Rantanen’s team. In fact, it’s said that Kakko was really looking forward to potentially playing with countryman Mikko Rantanen because the two are friends. Alas, it’s not to be.
Random information: Kaapo Kakko has both Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. He must have one hella awful diet he has to follow.
So, the Colorado Avalanche will be augmented by neither of those players. However, fourth overall is not a bad draft position at all. Indeed, we all know what happened the last time we lost the Draft Lottery and picked fourth overall — we lucked into Cale Makar.