After a disaster of a 2016-17 season, wrapped up by losing even the draft lottery, the Colorado Avalanche had a big off-season ahead of them. Step 1 was the NHL Entry draft, which overall was very successful. They had a total of seven picks, and got good value with most of them relative to where they were ranked by scouting services. They seemed to have a theme of selecting strong skaters to match today's more agile game, which will translate to more fantasy value down the road. With a few strong prospects knocking on the NHL's door (notes below), the team did a good job at stocking some future talent for the barren AHL franchise that will be desperate for an influx over the next few years. Without further ado, let's take a look at the picks:
Round 1 – 4th overall: Cale Makar, D
Amid the second-tier players available after the first two picks of the draft, Makar stood out as the defenceman with one of the highest offensive ceilings. This makes him both a prime real-life piece and fantasy piece, and should be the first d-man taken off the board in keeper/dynasty leagues. Comparisons to Erik Karlsson can get out of hand quickly, especially considering his outstanding play came in a weaker league than other draftees, but Makar’s hockey IQ and skating skills are exceptional and he still has lots of time to grow physically. He won't push for an NHL spot this season or (probably) even 2018 – the team really has no reason right now not to be patient and let him become as well-rounded and grown-up as possible before he makes that jump.
Round 2 – 32nd overall: Conor Timmins, D
Many rankings had Timmins in the first round, so this pick is almost universally accepted as a good one. Timmins is another strong skating defenceman with more of a two-way game than Makar, but still has shown offensive upside after a 61-point OHL season. His smarts will likely put him on a quicker development path than others, but he will still require a few years seasoning before pushing for a roster spot. Recent picks showing strong two-way and offensive games haven't had much success doing both in the AHL so hopefully Conor's smarts help him make that jump more smoothly when the time comes.
Round 4 – 94th overall: