In the 2015 NHL Draft the Colorado Avalanche hold the tenth overall selection. Assuming nothing drastic happens on the trade front between now and June 26th it appears that the Avalanche will make their fourth top ten draft selection since arriving in Denver in 1995.
In the early years the Avalanche historically made first round picks that were no lower than the 20th selection over all. However all three of the picks that came in the top ten also came in the top three. The early draft picks started in 2009 when the Avalanche selected Matt Duchene third overall. In 2011 Gabriel Landeskog was selected second overall and finally in 2013 Nathan MacKinnon was selected first overall.
After John Tavares was selected by the New York Islanders and Victor Hedman was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning the Avalanche were left with the guy they really wanted all along. Duchene was excited to be selected by the team he cheered for as a child and was able to frame his draft day jersey and mount it next to the jerseys of Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic.
Since 2009 Duchene has played in 419 games all as a member of the Avalanche. In those games Duchene has 318 points and recently signed a new long term deal that is sure to keep him in Denver for years to come.
Just two years after Duchene was drafted the Avalanche found themselves again with a high draft pick, this one the second overall. When the Edmonton Oilers selected Ryan Nuget Hopkins the Avalanche again had the chance to pick the player they wanted. That would be Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers.
In his first season Landeskog played in all 82 games and collected 52 points. During the off season after his rookie year Landeskog was named the Captain of the Avalanche. Landeskog was the youngest captain of an NHL team ever, beating a Pittsburgh Penguin player by the name of Sidney Crosby by 11 days.
Landeskog has noticeably gotten more comfortable with the pace of the NHL and with being the captain over the past few years. He seems to now understand that a captain has to do more than just put up points. He needs to lead in all aspects of the game, on the ice, off the ice, scoring and even fighting when it is necessary.
The only number one overall selection of the Avalanche since there time in Denver seemed to be a no-brainer when the dismal 2012-2013 season came to an end. A 6 foot 4 inch tall defensman whose father played professional basketball in Denver seemed a slam dunk fit. However the performance of Nathan MacKinnon during the 2013 memorial cup changed all that. When the Avalanche made their selection it was MacKinnon that became of the newest member of the Avalanche.
A rookie season that could not have gone much better for MacKinnon culminated in the Calder Trophy as the top rookie of the league for the guy they call “Kid Dynamite”. 63 points in 82 regular season games combined with 10 playoff points showed that the Avalanche had made the right call selecting MacKinnon.
Although MacKinnon certainly suffered from the dreaded sophomore slump last season, 64 games played with 38 points, the future of MacK is still very bright.
As early as the tenth pick is, there is currently no consensus on who the Avalanche will select this year in the draft. If they retain the pick and make a selection whoever the player is will be only the fourth player selected by the Avalanche in the first ten picks of the draft.
Every team wants to hit a home run with every draft pick but that is just not practical, however as a top ten pick this idea is even more prominent. Whoever the Avalanche select in just a few weeks will have a tough time cracking the opening day roster but the player is sure to be in the long term plans of the Avalanche.
I am a University of New Mexico journalism student who has been watching NHL hockey since 1996 and I started playing hockey myself in 2003. I have covered both college soccer and volleyball in the past and I also contribute to a NASCAR news website.