Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Avs' Draft Day

With the 2nd and 11th overall pick, the Avs continue to rebuild the franchise from the inside out. The Avs have the chance to pick up two great prospects that will contribute to the future success of the franchise.

2nd overall pick:

With the depth at center the Avs currently have, I don't see them drafting a center with this pick. The only way I see this happening is if the Avs are thinking of trading Stastny during the off-season, which is a good possibility, for a starting goalie.

The two players I would go for is defenseman Adam Larsson or winger Gabriel Landeskog. At 6'3", 200lbs, Larsson could fit right into the NHL next year, especially after two years in the Elitserien. He is known as a a puck moving defensemen with a strong shot. Larsson is also one of the best skaters in this year's draft, and with his size he is drawing comparisons to fellow Swedish defender Victor Hedman. Larsson has the potential to become a top two-way defensemen in just a few years.

Gabriel Landeskog's two-way play has him at the top of everyone's list. He has considerable size and great forechecking ability, speed and strength. Looking to Jarome Iginla as a model player, Landeskog is very physical and isn't afraid to throw the body even when he has the puck, drawing some comparisons to the Avs' own Peter Forsberg. Could be a great replacement for Chris Stewart. Expect big things from this Swede no matter where he ends up.

11th overall pick:

If the Avs take Larsson at 2nd, expect a forward at 11th. If another forward is taken at 2nd, the Avs will be forced to take a defenseman. If Landeskog isn't taken at the 2nd pick, expect the Avs to look for a goal scoring power forward to fill the gap that Chris Stewart left.

Joel Armia put on a strong offensive performance at the Under-18's, causing his stock to rise in the draft. It is his play without the puck that makes him a somewhat of a risky pick. Whether it is immaturity or just laziness, it is something that he and his future coaches will need to work on. That aside, he will be a good physical scorer. He will need at least one year in the minors before stepping up the NHL, though.

I know this is a stretch, but I would love to see Mika Zibanejad in an Avalanche jersey. Mika should be taken in the Top 10, especially with Ottawa looking for a center in this draft and his stock rising in the past couple of weeks. He is a physical center but could play at the wing, which would be preferable to the Avs. He is a power forward with good skating ability. Like Armia, he most likely will not be able to jump into the NHL right away, but should turn into a top 6 player.

With these two picks, the future of the Avs become brighter as they continue to draft prospects who contribute to the team's success years down the road.

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