On June 21-22, the 57th NHL Entry Draft will be held in Vancouver. Across those two days, the Avalanche are currently slated to make eight selections, but it’s the first round that will get the most attention; Colorado holds the No. 4 and 16 overall picks, giving them two high-profile choices.
Who will they pick? No one knows for sure what Joe Sakic and Company have in mind, as the Avs current roster doesn’t have any glaring holes that would necessitate a “need” pick by the general manager. Thus, going the “best player available” route seems the most likely for Colorado.
That being the case, evaluating the talent on the board will provide a road map to who the Avalanche might take when they’re on the clock. Leading up to the draft, 1043TheFan.com will break down the top-20 players available, two of whom will most likely be headed to Colorado on June 21.
First up… Nos. 16-20:
20. Bobby Brink | C | Sioux City (USHL)
Brink has committed to play at the University of Denver, so there’s a local tie with this elite scorer. While some scouts are concerned about his skating, few worry about his ability to score goals. He has quick hands, good vision and a nose for the puck, which was evident when he scored 35 goals in 43 games with the Musketeers last season. Size is an issue, though, as Brink only checks in at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds.
19. Raphael Lavoie | C/RW | Halifax (QMJHL)
Lavoie has moved up and down draft boards, as his play has fluctuated. Scouts love his size (6-foot-4, 198 pounds) and quick, powerful shot, but they are concerned with his lack of consistency. At the moment, however, his stock is rising, largely due to his recent playoff performance with the Mooseheads. In 23 postseason games, he notched 20 goals and 12 assists, leading Halifax all the way to the QMJHL finals.
18. Ryan Suzuki | C | Barrie (OHL)
There is no denying Suzuki’s skills, as scouts rave about his blazing speed and top-notch puck handling. In addition, he’s repeatedly referred to as a smart player, possessing a high-level hockey IQ. As a result, Suzuki is one of the most-entertaining players in the draft; he’s a joy to watch play the game. There are concerns, however, about his ability to withstand the pounding of the NHL. He tends to shy away from contact and doesn’t attack the net enough.
17. Moritz Seider | RHD | Mannheim (DNL)
Listed at 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, scouts love Seider’s size; he’s an imposing defenseman on the ice who isn’t afraid to dish out big hits. They also like his skating ability, giving the blueliner a unique combination of talents. That said, the 18-year-old has played limited pro hockey in Germany, providing a small sample size for teams to use in the evaluation process. Any team looking for an impact d-man will roll the dice, however.
16. Arthur Kaliyev | LW | Hamilton (OHL)
During his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Kaliyev found the back of the net 82 times in 135 games, including 51 goals in 2018-19. That put the 17-year-old left winger in exclusive company, joining John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner and Alex DeBrincat as players to post 50-plus goals in the OHL. There’s some concern about Kaliyev’s speed, but his ability to score goals is at an elite level.
On Thursday, the countdown continues… Players ranked Nos. 11-15
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