The Colorado Avalanche could trade up to score another elite defenseman in Jake Sanderson because the prospect is unlikely to drop to their position.
The Colorado Avalanche and the rest of the NHL are awaiting word if the 2020 NHL Draft will be held in June or if it will wait until after the finish of the current season, if there is one.
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Meanwhile, Avalanche scouts must be busy preparing their notes on players they may be advising Joe Sakic to select within the next few weeks. I’m sure they have extensive notes on defenseman Jake Sanderson as an elite complement to their already deep d-prospect pool.
Unfortunately, unless Colorado trades up in the draft, they won’t be able to select Sanderson. They’re going to pick in the low 20s. Sanderson is ranked #4 for North American skates by Central Scouting. He’s scouted to go between #10 to #17 — tantalizing close to the Avs, but probably not close enough.
Jake Sanderson is an American-born d-man out of Montana, of all places. He’s currently in the prestigious US National Development Program. A July baby, he’s only 17.
Let’s look at what makes Sanderson so elite.
Jake Sanderson Stats
Montana probably doesn’t have the most elite of hockey development programs for being so cold. So, Sanderson headed up north to play under-15 hockey in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. He stayed in Canada to play in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League for Edge School Prep. He finally headed back to the United States to enter the US Development Program in 2018.
In 2018-19, Sanderson wore the C as captain of the U.S. National U17 Team. He played 44 games, earning 4 goals and 20 assists for 24 points. He also played on the Juniors team, earning 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 22 games.
The following season, he captained the US National U18 team. He recorded 29 points (7 goals, 22 assists). He played for juniors again. In 19 games, he earned 2 goals and 12 assists for 14 points.
He’s already committed to the prestigious University of North Dakota hockey program for next year.
Jake Sanderson Highlights
Jake Sanderson is scouted to be the first American-born player to go in this year’s draft. He has those qualities you want in a modern-day defenseman while still carrying good size — 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and a 17-year-old. Indeed, Bill Placzek of DraftSite sees potential for the prospect to easily go over 200 pounds. Here’s what else the scout has to say:
"“Smooth skating poised offensive defender with four way skating ability and high skill set. Combines size and skill and a strong shot and is rounding out to a 200 foot defender. An excellent puck distributor who’s learning the defensive side as he goes along.”"
It’s normal for young defensemen to still be learning D at that age.
Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects thinks Sanderson is a “raw defender who oozes potential.” Robinson thinks his offensive potential is untapped, and “someone will fall in love early.”
Jake’s father is Geoff Sanderson, a left wing who spent many years in the NHL and even served as an alternate on a newly-minted Blue Jackets team in the early 2000s. Scouts see greatness in the prospects bloodlines:
"“Hockey sense and skating are traced easily to the bloodlines — his father is former NHLer Geoff Sanderson. Rates as the complementary defenceman, but with his foundation, there’s plenty of room for growth in his game.”"
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet.
We’d better see this kid in action.
This is a small sample size, but the kid does seem to have a pretty well-rounded game.
Colorado Avalanche and Jake Sanderson
Jake Sanderson looks very much like the kind of player who could complement the Colorado Avalanche. He’s young, and he’ll almost certainly spend at least two years at NoDak. Maybe three. By then, our current youngsters and prospects will have filled in the roles needed for our new age defensive corps.
Sanderson could slide right in. Imagine a core of Makar, Girard, Timmins, and Byram with young Jake Sanderson joining them.
If Sanderson goes in the top 10, forget about it. How about if the Winnipeg Jets, who are currently #12, make their pick and it’s not Sanderson. Or the Rangers at #13? Does Joe Sakic have Florida GM Dale Tallon on the horn asking what he wants in exchange for that #14 selection? It would be intriguing.
Ah, well, I’m going to guess Sakic won’t trade up for yet another elite defenseman. I guess we shouldn’t be too greedy.
The Colorado Avalanche will get a good depth prospect, probably a forward, with their late-20s draft pick. Jake Sanderson is likely to go elsewhere.