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Thanks to yesterday’s blockbuster trade that sent Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to Buffalo in exchange for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher, and the 31st overall pick, the Avalanche will be the first team to approach the podium on day two of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
As it stands, the Avalanche will select 31st and 40th in the NHL’s 2nd round, then 71st overall in the 3rd round. Because of the depth of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, they could potentially draft 1st-2nd round talent with all three of those selections. The Avalanche also hold picks in the 4th, 6th, and 7th rounds, but San Jose owns the Avs’ 5th round selection as a result of the Brad Stuart trade.
During his first round conference call, Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic suggested that the Avalanche may use their 31st overall pick to trade down for more draft picks. Sakic wouldn’t be the first GM to trade down this weekend: the Tampa Bay Lightning swapped 28 for 33 and 72, while the Toronto Maple Leafs turned 24 into 29 and 61 before moving down again, turning 29 into 34 and 68. If the Avalanche move the 31st pick to move back 4-5 spots they should expect a similar return of a mid-third round pick.
The overnight break from the draft floor should work in the Avalanche’s favor if they want to trade up. GM’s across the NHL, especially those who didn’t get to pick in the first round, went home last night, adjusted their draft boards, and set their sights, and hearts, on the players they hope will last long enough for them to pick. If a team decides tonight that they can’t live without one of the prospects that fell out of the first round, then the Avalanche can easily snag an additional pick and move back a few slots.
Whether the Avalanche trade back or not, they’ll likely make two of the first ten selections in the second round. AJ and I take a look at 15 players the Avalanche might consider in Round 2. Click on any prospect listed to learn more in our full Prospect Profiles.
Daniel Sprong, Right Wing, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
Daniel Sprong might be the most surprising player still available in the draft, with many scouting services ranking him in the middle of the first round. Sprong is something of a one-dimensional offensive forward but he has elite offensive talent and some scouts consider him the best raw-shooter available in the draft.
Sprong scored an impressive 39 goals and 88 points in the QMJHL last year, just 5 goals and 2 points fewer than the Sharks 9th overall selection Timo Meier. Sprong, however, did it without the elite Nickolaj Ehlers feeding him scoring opportunities left and right.
Jeremy Roy, Defense, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Jeremy Roy is another surprise player available in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft. Every major scouting service ranked Roy in the first 30 picks with Future Considerations ranking him the highest at 13th overall. Roy is a pure offensive defenseman with a wide arsenal of offensive weapons that make him deadly at even strength and on the power play.
Roy is extremely creative with the puck and has a deadly, accurate shot from long range, but he’s not as reliable defensively as some of the other blue-liners still on the board.
Paul Bittner, Left Wing, Portland (WHL)
As a prospect Paul Bittner has the one thing that can’t be taught and can’t be developed; size. The Portland winger is 6-foot-4 and just a shade under 200 pounds and while his raw tools leave a lot to be desired, his physical game is extremely advanced and has some scouts believing that he could become an impact power forward at the NHL level.
Bittner is a big project and has some very large flaws in his game but 34 goals and 71 points from a 6-foot-4 power forward is enough to entice even the most cautious General Manager.
Brandon Carlo, Defense, Tri-City (WHL)
Brandon Carlo would make an excellent feel-good story if the Avalanche selected him in the draft’s second round. A Colorado Springs native, Carlo is a product of the Colorado Thunderbirds development program and a shining example of Colorado’s growing youth hockey sector. At 6-foot-5, Brandon Carlo has an enormous, lanky frame which will make him a physical force when he eventually bulks up.
Carlo is a good skater for his size and a reliable shutdown defender with a serious mean-streak.
Vince Dunn, Defense, Niagara (OHL)
Vince Dunn is an offensive defenseman whos biggest assets are his puck carrying, his vision, and his heavy accurate slapshot. Dunn’s vision and anticipation in the offensive zone are elite tools and helped the young blue liner to an impressive 18 goal, 56 point season in 68 games played with Niagara during his draft year.
Dunn has lots of room to grow defensively and while he’s likely not the best offensive defenseman still remaining, he could be a good fit for the Avalanche with their 40th selection or if they move down.
Travis Dermott, Defense, Erie (OHL)
Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome are the big prizes of this Erie Otters draft class, but Travis Dermott is no slouch and should make an NHL team very happy in the second round. After being named the Otters’ Rookie of the Year in 2014, Travis Dermott took on more responsibility as the Otters bonafide #1 defenseman and scored 37 points in 45 games plus 17 points in 19 playoff games.
Dermott is a silky smooth two-way defender who brings a little bit of everything to the table and uses his exceptional hockey sense to make smart plays on both sides of the puck.
Yakov Trenin, Center/Winger, Gatineau (QMJHL)
After a solid professional debut in Russia’s MHL in the 2014 season, Yakov Trenin flew across the world to hone his craft in the QMJHL. As a QMJHL rookie, Trenin adjusted to North American ice and scored an impressive 67 points in 58 regular season games, plus 11 points in 11 playoff games. Trenin has a high hockey IQ, especially away from the puck.
Whether he’s facilitating a cycle in the offensive zone or providing an outlet in his own zone, he’s always finding ways to influence the game without the puck on his stick. Trenin has good hands and exciting creative instincts, as well as the defensive talent to be a force on the penalty kill.
Filip Chlapik, Center, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
It’s no wonder that Czech center Filip Chlapik has caught the eye of many scouts. Despite being a playmaker at heart, Chlapik led all QMJHL rookies with 33 goals in his first 64 games. Chlapik is an exceptional skater and while he doesn’t boast a particularly large frame, he’s solid and hard to knock off the puck. Chlapik is a savvy player who reads the offensive zone at a high level and plays committed, smart hockey in the defensive zone.
He uses his excellent skating and agility to exploit the smallest holes in the opposing defense and shows flashes of offensive brilliance.
Jeremy Bracco, Center/Winger, USNTDP (USHL)
While listed here by us as one of the worst potential fits a few days ago, the landscape has changed quite a bit. With the addition of an extra second round pick, the Avalanche have the luxury of rolling the dice on a player like Bracco, whose production and skills suggest he could be an elite offensive player but whose 5’10”, 160 pound frame causes great concern among scouts.
His second half production this past season also took a nose dive, another reason he is available here at the start of the second round.
Jansen Harkins, Center, Prince George (WHL)
If the Avalanche were looking for a guy who profiles very similarly the now-traded Ryan O’Reilly, this is the guy. Harkins is a player known for his exceptional effort and 200-foot game and his lack of flashy offensive game likely led to his drop behind some players who simply play sexier games.
Any team selecting Harkins won’t be wowed by him but his leadership, effort, and mature game in all three zones of the ice make him the rare “safe” second round pick in that he should definitely find his way to the NHL at some point. There are boom-and-bust prospects dotted all throughout the second round but Harkins is one of the best bets to maximize his potential.
Jonas Siegenthaler, Defense, ZSC (NLA)
A huge bodied player at 6’3″, 220 pounds, Siegenthaler combines his excellent size with smooth skating to create an imposing presence along the blue line. With Colorado’s addition of monster truck-sized Nikita Zadorov yesterday, Siegenthaler could be another freight train of terror for opponents trying to make their way into Colorado’s defensive zone.
While still a couple years away from contributing, Siegenthaler fits the physical and stylistic shift the Avalanche have targeted in recent years with defensemen in the draft. He’s also European, which once meant he was almost guaranteed to be drafted by Not Colorado but now means the Avs probably love him.
Erik Cernak, Defense HC Kosice (Slovakia)
A player the Avs have been connected to throughout this process, Cernak is a very raw defenseman who has major upside, especially in his offensive game. While his numbers weren’t spectacular in Slovakia last season, 13 points in 43 games as a teenager player professional hockey is certainly nothing to scoff at and scouts feel his offense is where his largest reservoir of untapped potential exists.
Defensively, he uses his 6’3″, 203 pound frame very well in the dirty areas of the ice and in separating puck carriers from the puck. He’s a physical player who plays a disciplined game and would be and as a right-handed player would be an excellent fit in the Avalanche organization.
Tom Novak, Center, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
The University of Minnesota commit is a highly skilled playmaker from the pivot and has a creative offensive arsenal built around his high-end hockey sense and vision that elevates the players around him. A player who has produced offensively at every level, he’s a typical highly skilled forward prospect in that further developing his outstanding tools and adding strength to his frame are the only things keeping him from the NHL.
With the Avalanche, Novak would be yet another center but one with a great deal of upside. He’s not a player whose size (6’0″, 181 pounds) should be a difference maker in his career either way. He’s too big to be a small star and too small to be a big center. His ability to create offense would be a welcome addition to any organization.
Michael Spacek, Center, HC Pardubice (Czech)
The darkhorse on this list, Spacek is an underrated European forward with a whole bunch of potential. A strong skater with very real goal-scoring skills, Spacek is a high-effort player who doesn’t waste a lot of effort and plays a smart, efficient game on both ends of the ice.
With the Avalanche, Spacek fits as a future goal-scorer. He may not stay at center in the pros but would profile as a high-impact right winger who could play a strong possession game, especially on the wall, and his nose for the net could separate him in the organization.
Oliver Kylington, Defense, Farjestad (SHL)
One of the draft’s biggest wild cards, Kylington is a player who was considered a potential top-10 pick at the start of the season before injuries derailed the flashy defenseman’s season, pushing him down draft boards. Scouts who have seen him extensively have intimated they still love Kylington’s extremely high upside and he has drawn comparisons (always unfair but inevitable nonetheless) to Ottawa Senators start Erik Karlsson.
For the Avalanche, Kylington isn’t an immediate need but with the team having picks 31 and 40 at the start of the day, they have the luxury of taking a flier on a player who could bring them incredible value along the blue line if he pans out. Kylington is the type of talent teams go to the draft to acquire.
Cole’s Top Picks: Daniel Sprong, Oliver Kylington, Erik Cernak, Yakov Trenin
AJ’s Top Picks: Oliver Kylington, Erik Cernak, Jansen Harkins, Paul Bittner