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With both days of the 2011 NHL Draft done, who did the Colorado Avalanche add to their franchise? It all starts at the top with left winger Gabriel Landeskog, possibly the top talent in the draft, taken at No. 2 overall. He is likely to be on the Avalanche's Opening Night roster this fall, ready to contribute immediately.
With the No. 11 overall pick, the Avalanche took defenseman Duncan Siemens and will likely watch him develop in the juniors for another season or so. But the Avalanche will take a big, tough defender whenever they can get him.
In Round 4-7, the Avalanche took two centers and two defensemen. They could turn into decent prospects a few years down the line.
Full results of the Avalanche's 2011 draft:
|Name||Pos||Round||Pick (Ovr)||Previous Team|
|Gabriel Landeskog||LW||1||2 (2)||Kitchener|
|Duncan Siemens||D||1||11 (11)||Saskatoon|
|Joachim Nermark||C||4||2 (93)||Linkoping|
|Garrett Meurs||C||5||2 (123)||Plymouth|
|Gabriel Beaupre||D||6||2 (153)||Val d'Or|
|Dillon Donnelly||D||7||2 (183)||Shawinigan|
Not only the Denver Nuggets come up aces in their 2011 NBA Draft class, but so did their fellow Colorado Avalanche in the 2011 NHL Draft selection. It all started with winger Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2 overall and then defenseman Duncan Siemens at No. 11 overall. Grant Sonier of ESPN Insider writes of the Avalanche's draft:
Sonier's Prime Picks: Gabriel Landeskog can be argued as the best player in this draft and his character and leadership carries him a long way as a very good NHL player. Duncan Siemens has a blend of size, skating and grit that is very attractive.
Overall, Sonier declares this a "quick rebuilding" and gives the team an 'A' for its draft. The Chicago Blackhawks are the only other team to receive a straight 'A' from Sonier.
The Edmonton Oilers, which held the No. 1 overall pick and selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, come in right behind the Avalanche with an 'A-'. The Minnesota Wild also check in with an 'A-' due to the first-round selections of Jonas Brodin and Zack Phillips.
The Calgary Flames wind up with a 'B' after selecting Sven Baertschi, one of several small but talented players the team drafted. The Vancouver Canucks, 2011's runner up, took up the rear among the Northwest division teams with a 'C,' mostly because Sonier is unsure of how Nicklas Jensen fits in with the Canucks.
For more on the Colorado Avalanche, please visit Mile High Hockey.
After selecting twice in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche were able to get a late start for the second day. Their second round selection went to the St, Louis Blues as part of the Erik Johnson trade. The Avalanche traded their third round selection this year's draft during the 2010 to the New York Islanders for the fourth round selection that became defenseman prospect Stephan Silas.
4th Round: The Avalanche selected 6-foot-1, 185-pound Swedish forward Joachim Nermark. One of the breakout players in the summer Ivan Hlinka tournament, Nermark is seen as a plus skater with good vision. His overall offensive game needs some development time, but a chance to be a solid offensive contributor at the NHL level.
5th Round: The Avalanche selected 5-foot-10, 160-pound Canadian centerof the OHL Plymouth Whalers. Meurs is a hard working forward that could see time on the third or four lines once he develops more of an offensive game. His goalscoring ability may be limited, but Meurs should be solid both ways with the potential to be an average playmaker.
6th Round: The Avalanche selected 6-foot-2, 195-pound Canadian Gabriel Beaupre, alternate captain of the QMJHL Val-d'Or Foreurs. Beaupre is another physical defenseman, and continues the trend of selecting size and physicality over long term upside.
7th Round: The Avalanche selected 6-foot-2, 195-pound defenseman Americanof the QMJHL Shawinigan Cataractes. As one of the youngest players in this draft, Donnelly is early in his development curve and could potentially grow into a mid round type talent. In the seventh round of the draft, a no-risk pick like this isn't very surprising. If Donnelly grows into a fringe NHL player, then it becomes a victory. If he fails to develop his puck awareness, the front office isn't going to bemoan a wasted selection.
With the eleventh pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select defenseman Duncan Siemens from the Western Hockey League. Siemens is a very physical defender, in the mold of former Devil Scott Stevens. The Avalanche took Siemens over Ryan Murphy, who many thought would be gone many picks ago.
From Hockey Prospectus:
The physically-gifted Duncan Siemens is one of the youngest prospects in the 2011 draft class, just being a few days removed from being a 2012 candidate. He's a pro-level skater who moves at an above-average level for a big defender. His mobility is very notable which lets him jump up into the offensive zone and recover very easily. He measures in at around 6'3", 195 lbs. and uses every inch of that frame regularly when he's on the ice, ravishing in the physical element of the game and making opponents wary of him when the puck gets along the sideboards. The frame is still a little thin and he needs to fill out, and despite how much he engages in the physical element he still loses more battles than he should, but once he bulks up in the gym that problem should sort itself out. Duncan's puck skills are fringe and while he does try to hold onto the puck he looks awkward while doing so. His passing ability is decent and he will be able to execute breakouts fine at the next level. His offense at the WHL came mainly from his hard slapper and what he was able to generate off his skating ability on the rush, however I'm not very confident he's going to put up counting numbers in the NHL because of his lack of ability with the puck.
From Hockey Prospectus:
In a class that boasts a prospect as high-end as Adam Larsson, Jonas Brodin is the smartest defenseman coming out of Sweden in this draft. Brodin is a true plus thinker on the ice, consistently making advanced reads on defense, and showing good poise with the puck and executing calm, quick breakouts. While he isn't a good stick-handler by any means, and if anything I'd grade that tool as a 40, his puck-moving skills are above-average. He consistently shows the ability to execute crisp, accurate passes and can execute well on lengthy attempts. Brodin also is a solid to above-average skater, with a great first step that can close on his assignments quickly. Brodin is very conservative in nature though in how he approaches the game. Despite the fact he has the speed to rush the puck up, he doesn't attempt to do so.
From Hockey Prospectus:
Dougie Hamilton has turned many heads this year based on his physical tools and the offensive potential he's brought from the backend. He's a solid skater who can flash above-average speed when he gets going and can extend fully with his long legs and is a well above-average skater for a defender his size. He has a tall 6'4" frame that is going to fill out to be 200+ pounds at some point in the near future. He battles well and at the Major Junior level he regularly outmatched opponents and projects as a plus physical pro player. I'd cautiously grade his puck skills as average, even though it's possible as he gets more coordinated with his body that the tool may even become solid-average and he does flash that on occasion.
With the eighth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, the very different looking (seriously, they're a completely different team from last season) Philadelphia Flyers select center Sean Couturier.
Couturier was widely considered the top prospect in this draft before the season began, but didn't build on his resume during play because of a bout of mononucleosis. He still displays plus offensive abilities and has excellent speed, but also has a defensive focus that sets him apart from other forwards in this draft. He has excellent stick skills and should easily become a top six NHL forward.
This one is special. With the seventh pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, newly relocated Winnipeg (formerly the Atlanta Thrashers) have selected (somewhat surprisingly) center Mark Schifele with their first pick since returning to Canada.
From Hockey Prospectus:
Mark Scheifele had a good year from a counting statistics standpoint on a poor Barrie team and with a good Under-18 tournament-his stock has come a ways in the course of a season. Scheifele is a low-ceiling but highly projectable player without a true standout tool. His skating grades as below-average, and while his mechanics are fine, his feet are just somewhat heavy and he doesn't have an NHL-level top speed. Scheifele's puck skills are decent, and while he doesn't bring any form of flashy stick handling or stretch passes to the table, he can handle the puck at a moderate level and make the right distributions bringing the puck up the ice and on the power play.
With the sixth (and quickest) pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators have selected left wing Mika Zibanejad.
From Hockey Prospectus:
Mika Zibanejad is a player who is just fun to watch. His combination of skill and work ethic make him a pest and a scoring threat on every shift that he's out on the ice for. He's a solid skater, with a smooth extension on every stride. Zibanejad consistently keeps his feet moving and is well conditioned which lets him jet up and down the ice for extended periods of time. Zibanejad has 55 puck skills and will on occasion flash plus. He can make noticeable moves with the puck when standing still and moving in full stride. He's a sneaky good passer as well and more than once I've seen Zibanejad thread a seeing eye bullet pass through traffic that caught the defense completely off guard. At times though, he does get a little too cute with his passes.
From Hockey Prospectus:
One of the best skill sets in the entire draft belongs to the Niagara centerman whose stock rose astronomically over this past OHL season. Ryan Strome has true plus puck skills and can at times flash beyond plus and is extremely dangerous when he has the puck. He is able to beat defenders in many ways, be it with superb puck-handling and simply faking them out, he can use his lower body to fend pressure off, and he has the passing skills to make crisp, accurate passes without even looking at his target. Strome gets very low on the puck when he has possession and while he may make himself smaller at times, it makes him a pain to try and strip off the puck. Strome consistently goes to the goal-mouth area and has displayed a notably accurate wrist shot. I'm not in love with his shot mechanics as I've seen at times that he lets the puck get too far up his stick blade, but it's a small nitpick that can be coached out.
With the fourth pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils get a steal with Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson.
Larsson is one of two NHL-ready players available in the draft, and the top defenseman available. He has good size and great strength, but his true advantage is his composure. Larsson always makes the smart play, the good first pass, and never panics on the ice. He has good offensive potential, but that may be the last thing to do develop. He has a very high ceiling as a #1 defenseman and has received comparisons to Detroit Red Wings future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom.
No one shot up the regular season draft boards faster than Huberdeau, who enjoyed a great regular season to throw his name into top-10 pick contention. A spectacular playoff run placed Huberdeau into top-3 pick contention, as some even projected him going as high as second overall. Huberdeau has great speed and vision, and displays an incredibly accurate shot. He is skilled enough to project as a possible #1 center, but displays the flexibility and skills to easily shift over to wing as well. Though he'll likely need another year to fill out his frame, he should make an immediate impact once he debuts in the NHL.
Landeskog is a pure physical specimen. A completely developed forward on Draft Day, Landeskog should immediately slide right into an NHL roster on Opening Night. Though he doesn't have the pure potential of the other players in this draft, scouts are very high on Landeskog's intangibles. He should be able to score 25-30 goals a season, but his leadership qualities and physical presence on the ice make him a top draft selection.
This is a draft move for immediate help. Landeskog doesn't have the ceiling of Jonathan Huberdeau or Sean Couturier, but he is developed right now. His selection suggests that the Avalanche front office believe that their team is built to compete this year, as he fills one of top needs on the team at left wing. He gives a strong, physical presence to pair with Paul Stastny or Matt Duchene, and is the type of player that former Avalanche Chris Stewart showed glimpses of becoming -- before he was traded to St. Louis. In a draft of high ceiling prospects, Colorado selected the one player that can give them immediate help.
The top player in the entire draft, Nugent-Hopkins has top center potential. His on-ice vision has been praised universally by scouts, with some even calling it the best since Wayne Gretzky. Nugent-Hopkins is still undersized at 170 pounds, and will likely need at least another year in the WHL to fill out his frame. When he's finally developed and ready for NHL play, Nugent-Hopkins projects as a franchise center and the type of player who improves his teammates around him.
With the top forward off the board -- as expected -- the Colorado Avalanche now have all their likely candidates remaining. Top defenseman Adam Larsson is the likely candidate, as he is not only the best player available but fills a desperate need on the NHL roster, but the Avalanche may also select one of the remaining high-ceiling forwards such as Huberdeau or Couturier.
The Philadelphia Flyers sent shock waves through the hockey world with barely 24 hours left until the 2011 NHL Draft, when they sent star forward Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the eighth overall selection. Columbus also sent their third round selection and forward Jacub Voracek.
The Flyers were not content, however, as within the hour they also dealt captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for their second round selection in this year's draft and forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
As soon as Philadelphia traded for the negotiating rights of Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, it was blatantly obvious they would have to dump some hefty contracts in order to sign the 31-year-old goalie. With Richards and Carter gone -- a combined $102 million over 10 years in contracts -- they finally had the cap space available, signing Bryzgalov to a nine year, $51 million deal.
It's a very unusual series of trades from a free agency standpoint, but it also dramatically changes the landscape of this year's draft. With the loss of two top forwards, the Flyers are almost certainly drafting a top forward this year. Gabriel Landeskog is unlikely to fall that far, but Swedish forward Mika Zibanejad makes a great fit at eighth overall. With the Boston Bruins essentially linked to defenseman Ryan Murphy at ninth overall, and the New York Islanders heavily connected to defenseman Dougie Hamilton with the fifth pick, it's becoming more and more likely that forwards like Ryan Strome or Sean Couturier slide all the way out of the top ten selections. The Colorado Avalanche would happily grab one of those two players at #11.
The NHL Draft Lottery 2011 came and went on Tuesday evening, and the Colorado Avalanche have the No. 2 overall pick. The Avalanche had an 18.8 percent chance of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick, but it was the New Jersey Devils who won the draft lottery, moving up from No. 8 to No. 4. It was the first time since 2007 that a team other than the one with the best chance of winning the lottery moved up four spots. That year, the Chicago Blackhawks moved from No. 5 to No. 1 and selected Patrick Kane.
As a result of the Devils moving up, picks moved down by one. The first round pick the St. Louis Blues sent to the Avalanche in the Erik Johnson deal is now the 11th overall selection. The Oilers will have the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row. In 2010 they selected Taylor Hall, who tallied 22 goals and 42 points in his rookie season before missing the last month of the season due to a knee injury.
The Avalanche had the No. 3 overall pick in 2009 and selected forward Matt Duchene. The second overall pick they hold in June represents the highest draft slot the Avalanche have ever controlled.
In the final NHL Central Scouting Bureau rankings, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was ranked the top North American skater, while Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson was named the top European skater.
The NHL Draft takes place June 24-25.
Here is the complete NHL Draft Lottery results:
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Colorado Avalanche had a miserable finish to their season., there's no denying that. But all of the on-ice pain that fans had to suffer through has its reward, as Colorado has a chance to revitalize their team through the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on June 24-25. Remember, the last time Colorado held a top three pick they chose star forward Matt Duchene, changing the direction of the franchise. Before the team picks it's bright new star, they have to find out where they will select in the upcoming draft.
Here's how the NHL draft lottery works. All 14 teams that failed to make the playoffs this season get entered into the lottery. Unlike the NBA system, where any non-playoff team gets a chance at the first overall selection, only the five worst teams can gain the top selection. By NHL rules, a team can move up a maximum of four draft slots by winning the lottery, but can only be bumped down a single spot.
The Colorado Avalanche finished with the second worst record, giving them a solid chance at the top overall selection. If that fails, they would slide down to third place at the very worst. Essentially, Colorado is guaranteed a top three pick in June, and has an 18.8% chance at the top selection.
Furthermore, since the Avalanche acquired a first round selection from the St. Louis Blues in the Erik Johnson trade, they also have a very good chance at the 11th overall selection in the draft. St. Louis finished with the 11th worst record in the standings, and the pick is top 10 protected. The only way that the Blues preserve their selection is by winning the entire draft and moving up to the seventh overall selection. (There's only a 1.5% chance of this happening, but Avalanche fans know how unlucky their team was this season.) If the Blues somehow win the lottery, then that first round pick will automatically be granted to Colorado in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The draft will be televised live on Versus Tuesday night at 6 p.m. MDT.