Colorado Avalanche: Reflections After the 2019 Draft

The Colorado Avalanche made some excellent picks in the draft this year. This is why I enjoy it.

It’s 1am on Saturday, June 22, 2019 and I’ve just rolled out of bed after a short nap and shuffled over to my desk to watch the Colorado Avalanche make their two first round picks in the NHL entry draft. When it’s over it will be 5am and the Avalanche will have drafted Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook. For me it’s the end of weeks of research, for them it’s their dreams realized after years of hard work.

My interest in the draft can be laid firmly at the feet of the Colorado Avalanche. In 2017 they set up a Draft Headquarters and posted profiles of some of the top ranked prospects. I was still a relatively new hockey fan back then so, for my own interest, I decided to go through the profiles and take some notes. I wanted to see what the Avs were getting when they made their pick, but also I was curious to see what sort of players other teams were choosing.

This was where it all began.

None of the names being discussed were familiar to me at all, but listening to Mike Haynes, Peter McNab and Lauren Gardner talking about the prospects’ potential something resonated with me. These young men had worked most of their lives to get to this point, and finally it was going to pay off. Although the presenters weren’t discussing much in the way of personal details I started to feel like I knew the prospects a little, and with that I started to get excited for them. I wanted to see them succeed and get drafted and I couldn’t wait to see who picked them.

This seems to happen to me every year now. I invariably get attached to at least one or two prospects and then have to hope they end up playing for a team that I don’t hate.

In 2018 I decided to take things a little further. Instead of just looking at one set of prospect profiles I expanded and read as many as I could find, writing notes as I had done the year before. This time I felt I had enough information to have a go at a mock draft as well, which brought another element of fun to the whole thing. When draft day came around I was able to match the results against my own and see how I did (not great).

Which brings us to this year’s draft. I took things further, again, and found actual scouting reports to read. I took notes on the top 31 prospects from as many places as I could find which gave me enough to do a mock first round, and some of the second round too. Like last year, it wasn’t hugely accurate. I got 25% correct on all the players I’d profiled and mock drafted. This year’s draft was unusual, though. A lot of the picks seemed to take everyone by surprise.

For me it’s not really about trying to be accurate though. I’m not a scout, and I don’t focus on prospects all year so I can only make guesses based on what I’ve read and any clips I can get my hands on. It’s just fun to have a go, and to get some idea of what the Avalanche is getting when they make their first round picks.

I think the Avalanche did very well this year in terms of who they picked up in the first round. Hannah Stuart, who covers prospects for Elite Prospects and The Score agrees.

Bowen Byram was projected to go third by a lot of people, so the Avalanche managing to get him with their 4th is great for the team. He brings excellent skating, strong defensive skills and the ability to change the pace of play.

Alex Newhook also brings excellent skating, the ability to make plays at high speed and a great shot.

Now that the draft is over I’m looking forward to seeing how our new prospects get on at Development Camp next week. This will be where we get to see a little more of the players’ personalities, which the social media team always does a great job of highlighting.

After that I can put the notebook away until June next year.

The Colorado Avalanche Development Camp begins on Tuesday June 25 and ends on Saturday June 29