As we slowly get closer to that final clock where many teams will pick their next great player or a potential dud, I take a look at what the Colorado Avalanche need to help them rebound and return to the playoffs.
In the recent issue of Hockey News which can be found on newstands everywhere, sports writers took a look at the prospects and included a mock draft. In that mock draft they saw Colorado taking Gabriel Landeskog at the #2 overall pick and Oscar Klefbom at the #11 pick.
This year the Avs were able to get the #2 pick after what was supposed to be a promising season that ended in disaster. They recieved the #11 pick from a trade they had with St. Louis. But are these two players the right fit for Colorado?
Landeskog is a great fit for the Avs who look to produce more goals. The team was only able to produce 221 goals and let in 287. Landeskog who is originally from Sweden moved over to Canada and for the last two years has been playing for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. During his last year he had a injury shortened season playing in only 53 games but scored 36 goals and had a plus/minus of +27. The left winger has a long, hard stride and is fast. He plays a hard nose in your face game. He crashes the net and is not afraid to shoot. During the offseason he had a tryout with the New Jersey Devils. Along with a few other players they were tested on endurance. Every player ran on a treadmil for as long as they could with the incline increasing every so often. Landeskog was the only player to go the longest with the most incline. Scouts say that he will not need time to work on mechanics in the AHL and will easily fit in the NHL.
With some great wingers the Avs could really use Landeskog to help mold some of the others who are still struggling to find their balance. This is a great pick-up for a team that needs someone to help out on lines with Duchene and Hejduk.
Oscar Klefbom is a defenceman with great speed. His style of play includes a hard shot, a knowledge of how to play the blue line and plays physical. He is one of those defenceman that does not get a lot of goals but creates chances for his team on the powerplay. Colorado's powerplay was not all that great last year. They had an 18.5 powerplay percentage with just 49 goals on 265 attempts. No defenceman on the team had a plus/minus above a -3. Klefbom brings a lot more to the table and can speed down the ice to break up the would be odd man rushes. With his presence at the point to be able to set up plays and keep the puck in the offensive zone, Klefom would be a steal for the Avs. Hockey News was the only one I saw that had Colorado taking Klefbom. Other analysts had him going to Tampa Bay or New York Rangers. He is one of those quiet unnoticed defenceman that is on the board and some have said he is easily a top 15 pick.
This is one of those drafts where you don't know who really will go where but for the Avs, if they want to get back into contention they need to start by drafting quality guys like these two. The Western Conference is going to be tough again and the Avs need to get ahead of the game if they want to fight for the cup come next May. Another thing the Avs need to look at is who they have in the farm system. I would not be surprised if we see a trade from the Avs in the upcoming weeks.
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