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NHL Draft Grades: Colorado Avalanche Receive High Marks From ESPN

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.