The Colorado Avalanche were dealt a heavy blow on April 29th of this year at the Draft Lottery when they were given the fourth overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft after a franchise-worst season that saw them win only 22 games. A first overall selection would have given the Avs the option to choose between Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick for first overall, but the hockey gods chose otherwise. The Avs might not have the first overall pick, but there will still be a lot of talent to choose from when they select at number four. Let’s take a step back for a few minutes and take look at who the Avalanche have drafted in the first round since 2010.
Recent Colorado Avalanche Draft History: First Round 2010-2016
2016- Tyson Jost (10th Overall)
In last year’s draft, the Avs selected Tyson Jost with the tenth overall pick. The forward from St. Albert, Alberta was dominant coming out of the BCHL, racking up 104 points in 48 games for the Penticton Vees. Jost turned professional after only one year at the University of North Dakota, so he will either begin the 2017-2018 season with Avalanche or with the San Antonio Rampage. Jost’s offensive ability and knack for scoring goals will be a welcome addition to the Avalanche once he arrives for good.
Tyson Jost scored his first NHL goal last night. Safe to say he made his Grandpa a pretty happy guy… pic.twitter.com/WeSR09B7Mf
— Mike Grinnell (@MikeGrinnell_) April 7, 2017
2015- Mikko Rantanen (10th Overall)
The Avs also selected 10th overall in 2015, taking Mikko Rantanen out of the Finnish Elite League. The 6’3″ 212 lbs forward impressed for Finnish club TPS, picking up 28 points in 56 games. The play maker made his debut in the Finnish Elite League at the ripe old age of 16, and he’s been impressive ever since, making an AHL All-Star appearance in 2015-2016 and captaining Finland to a World Junior championship in 2016. Rantanen’s 38 points in 75 games during his rookie campaign was a major bright spot for the slumping Avalanche, and he is a big part of the team’s future
2014- Conner Bleackley (23rd Overall)
The Avalanche selected Conner Bleackley 23rd overall in the 2014 draft, but Bleackley is no longer with the Avalanche organization. Bleackley was never offered an entry-level contract due to conditioning concerns, and was eventually re-drafted in 2016 after a trade to the Arizona Coyotes didn’t end up in Bleackley being given a contract. The 21-year-old is yet to make his debut after spending time in the AHL and the ECHL with the Chicago Wolves and the Kansas City Mavericks last season. Notable players drafted after Bleackley in 2014 include David Pastrnak, Brandon Montour, and Christian Dvorak.
2013- Nathan MacKinnon (1st Overall)
Not much needs to be said here. Nathan MacKinnon was drafted first overall by the Avs in 2013. He has been a stud ever since, leading the team with 53 points in 82 games last season. MacKinnon combines size, speed, and skill to remain a threat on the ice at all times. The 21-year-old has won the World Championship and the Memorial Cup. He also was an NHL All-Star last season. This will likely be the first of many. MacKinnon is the most important piece of the Avs core, and he will be the centrepiece of Joe Sakic‘s plans for the future.
Nathan MacKinnon gets high sticked by Leo Komarov, is cut open, but still dekes out the rest of the Leafs and rips one past Bibeau. 2-0 Avs pic.twitter.com/FSwtg1ZwSM
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 12, 2016
2011- Gabriel Landeskog (2nd overall), Duncan Siemens (11th overall)
The Avs didn’t draft in the first round in 2012 after trading their pick to the Washington Capitals in the deal for Semyon Varlamov, and the Caps used that selection to pick Filip Forsberg, but the Avs had two selections in the first round of the 2011 draft, selecting current captain Gabriel Landeskog at 2nd overall and Duncan Siemens 11th overall.
Landeskog captained the Kitchener Rangers the year before. He picked up 66 points in 53 games. Landeskog’s leadership skills landed him the captaincy in only his second season and he hasn’t looked back. He had an off-year in 2016-2017, scoring 33 points in 72 games. The 24-year-old Swede will be hoping to improve offensively this season; as the Avs look to forget about their 2016-2017 campaign.
Siemens was selected with the 11th overall pick. The selection was dealt to the Avs by the Blues as part of the deal that sent Kevin Shattenkirk to St. Louis. Siemens has spent most of the past few years in the AHL. He has appeared in only four games for the Avalanche. The stay-at-home defenseman could see regular NHL action soon, and his physical play would be welcomed on the Avs blueline.
2010- Joey Hishon (17th Overall)
One year after drafting Matt Duchene third overall, Colorado selected Joey Hishon at #17. The pick came right after the St. Louis Blues drafted Vladimir Tarasenko. The 25-year-old racked up 87 points in 50 games in his draft year. He led the Owen Sound Attack to an OHL Championship, after finishing in a tie for the OHL playoff scoring title with 24 points in 22 games. Concussion problems would derail Hishon’s career. Hishon played a total of 16 games for the Avalanche between playoff and regular season play. However, he spent the 2016-2017 season with Jokerit of the KHL after becoming a restricted free agent. Hishon scored nine points in 48 games. It’s safe to say that he won’t be in an Avalanche jersey in the near future. Notable players selected after Hishon in 2010 include Evgeny Kuznetsov, Charlie Coyle, and Justin Faulk.
Although it was disappointing that the Avalanche fell to the fourth overall pick this year, they will still have the opportunity to select a number of promising prospects at number four including Cale Makar, Cody Glass, Casey Mittelstadt, and Gabriel Vilardi. Another top prospect will be added to Colorado’s system when the 2017 NHL Draft begins on June 23rd in Chicago.
MONTREAL, QC – DECEMBER 10: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche skates the puck against Alexei Emelin #74 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on December 10, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Colorado Avalanche 10-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)