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Avalanche offseason

Avs Draft Plan? “Best player available”



NHL draft

Welcome back, Avs fans, to the days when you had a wait a long time for the team to make its first-round NHL draft selection. This, you might recall, is generally a good thing. It means your team had a really good regular season and at least won some playoff rounds. For the Avs from roughly 1995-2005, it would be a long while before Avs personnel strode to the stage to proudly announce their first pick.

The Avs own the 28th pick in the first round, which will be held Friday by virtual format. Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday.

The Avs formerly did not own a pick in the second round this year, but that changed when the team traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils. The Avs thus own the 61st pick overall in the second round.

The Avs also have a new chief amateur scout now. Wade Klippenstein takes over for the departed Alan Hepple, and on Tuesday Klippenstein met the media on Zoom to discuss the draft and what kind of player the Avs may look for with that first-round pick.

“It’s a good question, but it’ll be the best player available,” Klippenstein. “Our list will be our list, and we’ll go with the best player available when that happens.”

I’m not the world’s biggest draft expert (that’s my colleague Ashley Glover’s turf, and he’ll have some good stuff in the coming days on it) but there is not considered any wowza, generational player in this year’s crop of prospects. This is also a draft that is generally considered to be harder to judge, because a lot of young kids didn’t get to play much in the past year because of the pandemic.

“There is some mystery to this draft,” Klippenstein said. “I would say it’s an average draft. It would have been nice to get more viewings (of players). It’s been a lot of work. In a good way, we’ve had some good technology to do more things.”

Klippenstein said there really isn’t one position area the team will focus upon in the draft. Partially, he said, that’s because the active roster now probably is going to look much different by the team the kids drafted this weekend are ready to play in the NHL.

“That’s not a fancy answer, per se, but that’s the reality of the situation,” he said.

The Avs also own picks Nos. 92 and 220. They currently do not own picks in rounds 4, 5 and 6. Round 1 will take place at 6 p.m. mountain Friday and can be seen on ESPN2. Rounds 2-7 will start at 9 a.m. Saturday and can be seen on the NHL Network.

Here is the draft order for all teams in all rounds.

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