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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

All Eyes On L.A.

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Edmonton Oilers have unofficially been on the clock since winning the NHL Draft Lottery on April 13, but the entire process becomes official tonight when the 2010 NHL Entry Draft begins at 5:00 p.m. MT at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The Colorado Avalanche owns seven total picks in this year’s draft, including the 17th overall in the first round.

Over the past weeks, has broken down the draft with a series of pieces.

First, we examined how Avalanche director of amateur scouting Rick Pracey and his staff go about addressing the organization’s needs. Next up was an examination of Colorado’s excellent 2009 draft, and how Pracey and his staff will try to replicate that success this year in Los Angeles. And after looking at the history of the No. 17 overall pick, we broke down how different Colorado’s 2010 draft situation is from a year ago.

Now, with the draft just hours away – the culmination of many months of hard work and extensive travel by scouts and front office personnel across the NHL – we take one more quick look at the process leading up to the picks.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, Pracey provided some insight into what he and his staff still had to cover when they arrived in California.

“What we do is we have an idea, we construct a draft plan. Basically, we map out scenarios and work off a magic number,” said Pracey. “If we’re picking at 17, we’re looking at players within a certain range or area and we challenge our guys to really look at those players. Then it’s a matter of liking the player and making the pick.”

Make no mistake, the Avalanche’s scouting staff had a firm draft plan before they showed up in Los Angeles. They don’t view the 48 hours leading up to the draft as a time to completely re-evaluate prospects, but rather a chance to fine-tune a few things.

“We’ll have our list 90-95 percent in tact when we show up in L.A.,” said Pracey. “Then it’s just putting on the finishing touches and going through scenarios. We’ll have a plan in place and go through it with Greg (Sherman), Brad (Smith), Eric (Lacroix) and Craig (Billington).”

And to all the armchair GMs and fantasy hockey enthusiasts out there, Pracey jokes that the process isn’t as easy as one might think.

“It’s not something where we simply have a list of 150 players and we just scratch them off,” Pracey noted with a chuckle. “The list is an evolution. We met in early May and we’ve seen changes since then. Then it’s knowing the board. If we’re picking at 17, we need to be realistic and figure out who is going to be available at that time. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, that’s for sure.”
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