Friday, June 20, 2008

Draft Comments (Including In the System Report) + AF Awards + Three Stars Champion

Round one of the 2008 Entry Draft will air tonight at 7 PM on Versus.
Rounds two through seven can be soon on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM on the NHL Network.

The Avalanche traded their first round pick to Columbus as part of the Adam Foote deal so barring a trade, the Avs will not make their first selection until Saturday.

Avalanche Selection Spots

Round 2 - 50
Round 4 - 110
Round 5 - 140
Round 6 - 167
Roudn 6 - 170
Round 7 - 200

This draft has been labeled as "very deep" by most experts, so there is no reason to think that the Avs shouldn't get a good player in Round 2. However, it would be foolish to think that Francois Giguere won't try to trade up to either move into Round 1 or get another pick in Round 2.

Every year, the International Scouting Service comes out with a list of their top prospects. Here are 2008's Top 30: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/10401/iss_top302008_prospects_final/

You can also view TSN's "Top 60 Prospects" here:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=11437

Will the Avs get one of those players at 50? Probably not. The question then becomes, what do the Avs need?

Goaltending

While nothing has been confirmed, I'd be shocked if Jose Theodore were not in an Avalanche jersey next year. The question then becomes, what becomes of Peter Budaj? Avalanche management have stated that they wouldn't mind Tyler Weinman becoming the backup next season, implying that trading Budaj might be in the cards.

While not a deep draft when it comes to goaltenders, a few names the Avs might consider:

Thomas McCollum
Peter Delmas
Jacob Markstrom

Defense

Anyone paying attention to Colorado's system knows that it lacks the high-end defensive players that other teams have assembled. The top players include 2007 first round pick Kevin Shattenkirk, Kyle Cumiskey, Johnny Boychuk, Kevin Montgomery, Nigel Williams, and Colby Cohen.

This draft is very strong in defensemen, with picks 2-4 expected to be all blueliners. While names like Doughty, Bogosian, Myers, Pietrangelo, and Schenn might all be taken in the Top 10, the Avs could trade up and potentially land:

Luca Sbisa
Colby Robak
Michael Del Zotto
John Carlson
Erik Karlsson
Roman Josi
Colten Teubert
Tyler Cuma

Offense

The Avalanche have always been good at drafting offensively skilled players. Currently in the system are TJ Hensick, Ryan Stoa, Codey Burki, T.J. Galiardi, Justin Mercier, Chris Stewart, David Jones, Denis Parshin, and Paul Carey.

It may be a strength for the Avalanche, but there are some players in this draft who could benefit the club in the future if the majority of the players listed above don't work out.

To be frank, I highly doubt the Avs would take a European foward with a high draft pick. First of all, you can completely eliminate any Russian. Thanks to the lack of a transfer agreement, many teams are weary of picking Russians only to never see them in North America. This was the case last season when highly touted Alexei Cherepanov fell all the way to the Rangers at 19.

As far as other countries, the Avs will be looking for physical players - players most likely to be found in North America. While there are many high-end guys they could trade up to get, players such as Kyle Beach, Zach Boychuk, Cody Hodgsonm, and Colin Wilson among others, they might consider:

Matt Calvert
Josh Bailey
Danny Kristo
Jared Staal

That last name you see is indeed part of the famous Staal clan. His brothers, Eric, Jordan, and Marc are already established NHL'ers but this one is a little bit different. He is said to be the most talented of the bunch but also the laziest. If the Avs aren't looking for any immediate help, they should consider taking Staal if he's still around at 50 just on the name alone.

What Will They Do?

I'd be shocked if Giguere doesn't make a trade at some point over the next two days. There has to be someone they like enough who is worth moving up for. I think they may be looking to take a foward, as several of the team's veterans still have not re-signed (they include Brunette and Sakic).

A goaltender is certainly a possiblity. They did take Trevor Cann last year and have another kid named Billy Sauer who has a chance of making it, but Tyler Weinman isn't a sure thing and if Peter Budaj does end up getting traded, depth will be an issue.

It should be an interesting night. Lets just hope it all works out.

Avalanche Awards

As is everything in this blog, these awards are strictly my opinion. If you take issue, please let me know. I may actually think your opinion over for a minute.

MVP: Paul Stastny
Calder: Jeff Finger
Vezina: Jose Theodore
Best Free Agent Pickup: Scott Hannan
Best In-Season Move: Trading Karlis Skrastins For Ruslan Salei
Most Costly Injury: Marek Svatos
Most Pleasant Surprise: Jose Theodore
Best Story: Jose Theodore Finding His Game / Forsberg and Foote Return
Most Disappointing Player: Tyler Arnason
Most Improved Player: Jose Theodore
Best Foward: Paul Stasnty
Best Defenseman: Brett Clark
Best Goalie: Jose Theodore
Line of the Year: McLeod-Guite-Laperriere

Three Stars of the Year - FINAL STANDINGS

Regular Season:

1. Jose Theodore: 41
2. Paul Stastny: 34
3. Marek Svatos: 30
4. Andrew Brunette: 28
5. Milan Hejduk: 25
6. Peter Budaj: 23
7. Ryan Smyth: 20
8. Wojtek Wolski: 19
8. Joe Sakic: 19
10. Ian Lapperiere: 16
10. Jaroslav Hlinka: 16
12. Cody McLeod: 15
12. Jeff Finger: 15
14. Tyler Arnason: 12
14. Brett Clark: 12
14. John-Michael Liles: 12
17. TJ Hensick: 11
17. Peter Forsberg: 11
19. Ben Guite: 9
20. Scott Hannan: 6
21. Wyatt Smith: 5
21. Jordan Leopold: 5
23. Scott Parker: 3
23. Cody McCormick: 3
23. David Jones: 3
23. Ruslan Salei: 3
27. Kurt Sauer: 2
28. Kyle Cumiskey: 1
28. **Karlis Skrastins: 1
28. Tyler Weinman: 1
28. Adam Foote: 1
*First=3 Points
*Second=2 Points
*Third=1 Point
**No Longer With Team

Playoffs

1. Jose Theodore: 11
2. Ryan Smyth: 7
3. TJ Hensick: 6
4. Adam Foote: 5
5. Peter Forsberg: 4
6. Joe Sakic: 3
6. Paul Stastny: 3
6. Andrew Brunette: 3
6. Ruslan Salei: 3
6. John-Michael Liles: 3
6. Jeff Finger: 3
12. Ian Laperriere: 2
12. Jordan Leopold: 2
14. Tyler Arnason: 1

Total Season Champion

First Star: Jose Theodore - 52 Points
Second Star: Paul Stastny - 37 Points
Third Star: Andrew Brunette - 31 Points

I believe that these three stars are an accurate representation of the 2008 Avalanche roster. These three players were keys to the Avalanche making the playoffs and advancing past the first round. Congratulations to them.

Make sure to watch the draft tonight and visit us tomorrow for first round analysis and some trade rumors from around the NHL!

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