And so another draft weekend has come and gone. 211 teenagers' dreams have come true, and we as fans will wait to see which of them will be gems and which will be busts.
We'll look today at the rest of Colorado's picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. For analysis of their 1st round picks, see my previous post.
The Avalanche were without a 2nd or 3rd round pick in this draft, having traded them both away previously. Their 2nd rounder went to St. Louis as part of the Stewart/Shattenkirk/Johnson trade earlier this year, and their 3rd rounder went to the New York Islanders in the deal that saw them acquire the Isles 4th round pick in 2010 entry draft (used to select Stephen Silas).
Picking up in the 4th round, Colorado saw that Joachim Nermark was still available, and quickly selected the Swedish center with the 93rd pick. Nermark was rated the 8th overall European skater, so Avalanche brass felt they were lucky to get him in the 4th round. The 18 year old Nermark is bigger, sitting at 6'1" and 187 pounds. He plays for Linköpings of the SEL. He most recently starred at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, scoring 5 g and 6 a (11p) in 5 games for the Swedes.
In the 5th round (123), the Avalanche picked Canadian Garrett Meurs. Muers, who is 18, plays for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. He is listed at 5'10", 169, and plays center. This is likely a "best player available" selection, as scouting tends to get thinner in the later rounds, and Colorado already has a bevy of talent at the center position.
Colorado chose Canadian defenseman Gabriel Beaupre in the 6th round with the 153rd overall pick. Beaupre, who is 19, tips the scale at 195, standing 6'2" tall. He plays for Val d'Or of the QMJHL. This is another pick the Avalanche used on a bigger body, showing that the team is likely focused on getting bigger at both ends of the ice.
With their last selection (7th round, 183rd overall), the Avalanche chose American-born defenseman Dillon Donnelly. Donnelly is nearly exactly the same size as Beaupre, weighing in at 192, and also standing at 6'2". He plays for Shawinigan of the QMJHL. Donnelly's father, Gord, played 554 games in the NHL, so the bloodline is there for Dillon to follow in his father's footsteps.
While it's likely we won't see all of these names on an NHL jersey in the future, the Avalanche have pulled some definite talent from the later rounds in the past ten years. Guys like John-Michael Liles (round 5/159th overall), Marek Svatos (7/227th), David Jones (9/288th), Brandon Yip (8/239th), Kyle Cumiskey (7/222nd), and Jonas Holos (6/170th) have all seen significant action at the NHL level.
There's also something to be said about the demographic of the Avs' choices. Two of their first three choices were used to select Swedes. Now this may just be a coincidence, but Sweden has been churning out quality NHL talent for years. Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin, the Sedin twins, and of course, Peter Forsberg, just to name a few. These guys may very well have been targeted by the team for their backgrounds, and if any of them approach the potential of the names listed above, Landeskog in particular, Avalanche fans and management will be very pleased.
The other trend was the size of players taken. Only one prospect was under six feet, and most will fill out to be roughly 200 pounds or more. That's not huge by any means, but on a team that could use some size, they will be a welcome addition.
Overall, I would give this draft an A- grade for the Avalanche. They certainly came out winners getting both Landeskog and Siemens in the 1st round, but it would have been nice to have the second pick in both the 2nd and 3rd rounds, or picks at all in those rounds. Still, you have to say that the future looks bright for the team.
Next up: finding a starting goaltender...