The Colorado Avalanche is expected to have a quiet NHL draft with no picks over the first two rounds and only four selections overall.
Just don’t sleep entirely on the reigning Stanley Cup champions. It’s possible that general manager Joe Sakic makes noise with a trade in pursuit of a top prospect. But Sakic already leveraged several picks from the upcoming draft to acquire three Avalanche players via trade:
- G Darcy Kuemper: The Arizona Coyotes received the Avs’ 2022 first-round round pick (No. 32), D Conor Timmins and 2024 third-round pick
- D Devon Toews: The New York Islanders received the Avs’ 2022 second-round pick (No. 65) and 2021 second-round pick
- D Patrik Nemeth (later signed with Rangers in free agency): The Red Wings received the Avs’ 2022 fourth-round pick (No. 129)
While Colorado has more pressing decisions looming in free agency, beginning July 13, here is an Avalanche NHL draft primer with what fans need to know ahead of the two-day event held in Montreal.
When: 5 p.m. Thursday
Avalanche picks: None
When: 9 a.m. Friday
TV: NHL Network
Avalanche picks: No. 97 (3rd round), No. 161 (5th round), No. 193 (6th round), No. 225 (7th round)
Good luck finding cracks in the Avalanche needing repair through the draft. Colorado’s quality depth at every position made its run to hoisting the Stanley Cup possible.
Several prominent unrestricted free agents will possibly leave over the next month — creating roster need — but it’s unclear in what roles. Sakic has used his first pick on defenseman in two of the past three NHL drafts. Some unsolicited advice for the GM? Take the best player available regardless of position.
The Avs should also be open to stockpiling future picks to create draft capital when Colorado actually needs it as its cap situation becomes even more challenging.
Sakic’s 3-year draft history (2019-21)
- No. 28 (1st round): RW Oskar Olausson, SWE
- No. 61 (2nd round): D Sean Behrens, USA
- No. 92 (3rd round): C Andrei Buyalsky, KAZ
- No. 220 (7th round): LW Taylor Makar, CAN
Notable: Olausson tallied 24 points (14 goals) in the OHL last season … Behrens was a freshman on DU’s NCAA championship team. … Taylor Makar, now a sophomore at UMass, is the younger brother of Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar.
- No. 25 (1st round): D Justin Barron, CAN
- No. 75 (3rd round): C Jean-Luc Foudy, CAN
- No. 118 (4th round): C Colby Ambrosio, CAN
- No. 139 (5th round): RW Ryder Rolston, USA
- No. 167 (6th round): C Nils Aman, SWE
Notable: Barron was sent to the Canadiens in March via the Artturi Lehkonen trade. … Jean-Luc Foudy recorded 26 points (17 assists) in AHL last season. … Ambrosio totaled 37 points (16 goals) over past two NCAA seasons for Boston College.
- No. 4 (1st round): D Bo Byram, CAN
- No. 16 (1st round): C Alex Newhook, CAN
- No. 47 (2nd round): D Drew Helleson, USA
- No. 63 (3rd round): C Matthew Stienburg, CAN
- No. 78 (3rd round): RW Alex Beaucage, CAN
- No. 140 (5th round): RW Sasha Mutala, CAN
- No. 171 (6th round): RW Luka Burzan, CAN
- No. 202 (7th round): G Trent Miner, CAN
Notable: Byram and Newhook played key roles on the Stanley Cup championship team. … Helleson was traded to Anaheim in a deal to bring defenseman Josh Manson to Colorado. … Stienburg recorded 39 points (18 goals) over two previous NCAA seasons at Cornell.