The 2010-11 season has come and gone, yet the season never stops for hockey fans, owners and General Managers. This past weekend the 2011 NHL Draft was held in Minneapolis, Minasota.
Over the course of the two day, seven round draft we saw major players picked and GM's trying their hardest to find the next best talent for their team to be the next Boston Bruins.
The Colorado Avalanche was no exception, but did they pick the right guys for the right fits in their squad?
With the second overall pick in the draft Colorado took young Swedish born player named Gabriel Landeskog. In an earlier post I mentioned that he would be a great fit for Colorado and he himself was excited to get picked by the Avs. He will have to prove he can play with the big guys in the NHL but he is a perfect fit for a team that needs a fast, scoring machine on the wing.
For their second pick in the first round, that they had gotten in a trade that sent their second round pick to St. Louis for the #11 overall pick and Erik Johnson, Colorado took defenceman Duncan Siemens from Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. This 6 foot 3 196 pound machine ranked second among defenceman in Saskatoon in scoring. He recorded 43 points and had a plus/minus 40. He is one of the younger guys; only 17. He is on the 2011-12 Saskatoon Blades roster and I can see him staying there to develop more of his skill. He has been clocked at having a 92.4 mph slapshot and analyst Peter Sullivan says he can play both the powerplay and penalty kill but at times in his game he tries to overstep his bounderies. He will be a great player for the Avs in a few years. I see him playing for the Monsters in a year.
Not having another pick until the fourth round, Colorado took Joachim Nermark 93rd overall. Although he is another young player, who currently plays in the Swedish Juniors league, he has good size, standing at 6 foot 185 pounds. In scouting reports on him, analysts saw a lot of potential in him. A center who pursues the puck in the corners as well as having a nact for passing with such great accuracy. He crashes boards as well as nets and led all the teams at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Sweden. Another player that Colorado will have to wait on and mature, Nermark will be a good fit for the Avs when looking to fill a center role on the third line.
In the fifth round the Avs took Garret Meurs of the OHL Plymouth Whalers. A bit of a smaller guy for a right winger, he can play with true grit. He was named Whalers rookie of the year scoring 41 points in 68 games. He is always looking to improve his game, and it has shown through his growth on the ice. But he needs to hit the weights a little more if he wants to scrap with the big guys in the corner. Look for him to play another year in the OHL or play in Lake Erie or Tulsa as part of the Avs farm system. He has little more to learn to the game but will be a great fit to place on a line with guys like Duchene or Dupuis.
The last two picks the Avs had went to guys in the Quebec Major Juniors League.
In the sixth round they took another defenceman named Gabriel Beaupre. At 6 foot 2 hes a bit hitter as well as a shot blocker. He is not afraid to fight and plays with a lot of intensity. There weren't as many scouting reports on him but I see him being another Tyler Myers from Buffalo. Great pick up for the Avs who will have to look for a replacement for Adam Foote.
In the last pick of the 2011 draft for the Avs, they picked up Dillion Donnelly, son of Gord Donnelly. This guys has a reputation as well as expectations to be a great player, but he is going to need some work. Hes got great puck handling skills but needs a lot of work on the forecheck as well as other aspects of his game. Young kid though still playing in the QMJHL but could move to Tulsa too.
Overall I would give the Colorado Avalanche at B+. They picked up key players in positions that are needed with skills that need to come to Colorado. I think Colorado has figured out how to use the farm systems to their advantage. I mean look at where Greg Mauldin, Philippe Dupuis and Brandon Yip came from. I would have given them an A but they picked "young" guys, though this was kind of a hard draft for everyone, there was not that one really great player like in the past couple of years. But I think the Avs got the steal of the draft taking Landeskog. Not going to say that its impossible for the Avs to make the Playoffs next year but I do think their chances just got a whole lot better with this draft.
For more on the Avs. Monsters and Oilers as well as other major hockey news keep checking out this blog at ifeellikealakeeriemonster.blogspot.com and look for me on twitter @WillWodka2133