Colorado Avalanche: 2019 NHL Mock Draft First Round

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Joe Sakic and Alan Hepple of the Colorado Avalanche attend the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Joe Sakic and Alan Hepple of the Colorado Avalanche attend the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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ST. PAUL, MN – SEPTEMBER 19: Team Langenbrunner forward Alex Turcotte (19) skates with the puck during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Picks 1-5

As I noted, beyond the top two, the next three players are subjective. There are at least five players who could go in slots three to five.

player. 85. “Elite skating. Elite edges. Elite puck skills. Vision, creativity, and the spatial awareness to embarrass the opposition on a nightly basis. He’s at his very best with the puck on his stick and surrounded by intelligent mates. The most productive player in USNTDP history will also be the first to ever step out of The Program and directly into the NHL.” ~Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects. Center. Devils. Jack Hughes. 1

The New Jersey Devils will enjoy the first-overall draft pick for the second time in three years, and I, for one, will hate them for it. They will get Jack Hughes, an elite player who can suffocate next to Taylor Hall (if they re-sign him) and 2017’s first-overall, Nico Hischier.

2. player. 95. “The most prolific U18 goal scorer in Liiga history blends power and precision. There are no holes in his game, as he’s a threat to dish it, finish it, or look for another option. Will immediately step into an NHL top six and produce tangible results.” ~Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects. Right wing. Rangers. Kaapo Kakko

I can’t be too mad at the New York Rangers jumping up — they were pretty darn bad this season. With New Jersey selecting Hughes first-overall, they’ll naturally pick the bona fide second-overall, Kaapo Kakko.

Bowen Byram. 3. player. 94. “All situation new age defender who can control the pace and tempo . Has high IQ for understanding the nuances of his position and executes them in a tough fashion. Has good top speed, stick and passing ability so he never is hesitating coming out of his end and continuing to lead the attack down deep in the attack zone. His strong backward skating ability lets him transition into his back pedal and stop/start in his gaps if he wants to stand an attacker up, and he is able to shadow attackers step for step. ” ~ Bill Placzek of Draft Site. Defenseman. blackhawks

Blackhawk Up: “Mark Kelley has said Blackhawks are going with BPA, but I think it’s down to Turcotte or Byram at #3.”

Yeah, I’m salty as you-know-what that a team that was competing for a playoff spot in late March jumped all the way up to the third-overall position. I also hate that it’s a Central Division rival — just like happened in 2017.

And, just like 2017, I think that rival will pick the player the Colorado Avalanche really want — Bowen Byram.

4. player. 103. “He can finish and his puck-handling, high hockey instincts, and soft hands rate up near the top of the class. Has great speed, an extra gear and displays strong edging. Has really good patience in his possessions, and will rile defenses into over commitment, and then place the biscuit on a teammates stick for a shot. He plays fast because he is able to slow the action down in his head and use his hands and stick abilities to surprise offensively, and in the two other zones to beat opposition to the puck with his intense compete level.” Bill Placzek of Draft Site. Left wing. avalanche. Alex Turcotte

This pick is from the Ottawa Senators.

I vacillated back and forth. I really thought I’d have the Avalanche select Kirby Dach with this pick. However, Avs fans have been agitating for Alex Turcotte, and he does have the three things scout Alan Hepple has said the team is looking for — speed, skill, and hockey smarts.

Center. kings. Kirby Dach. 5. player. 67. “A pass-first centre who owns great awareness and deft puck skills. Uses his body well to protect the puck and exploit seams. He lacks explosiveness with his skating and can stand to play with more pace at times.” ~ Cam Robonson of Dobber Prospects

The LA Kings are probably going to try and transition into the smaller, faster game, but they’re not going to be able to help themselves. I think they’ll go for yet another big, powerful forward who’s not the fastest player on the block.