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Avalanche Selects Eight at 2018 NHL Draft

Colorado chooses five forwards, one defenseman and two goaltenders

by Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche /

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club made eight selections at the 2018 NHL Draft held Friday and Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The following is a complete list of the Avalanche's selections at the 2018 NHL Draft. 

Avalanche 2018 Draft Class
# Rd Pick Player Pos Team (League)
1. 1 16 Martin Kaut RW Pardubice (Czech)
2. 3 64 Justus Annunen G Karpat (Finland)
3. 3 78 Sampo Ranta LW Sioux City (USHL)
4. 4 109 Tyler Weiss LW/C U.S. National Team Development Program
5. 5 140 Brandon Saigeon C Hamilton (OHL)
6. 5 146 Danila Zhuravlyov D Irbis Kazan (Russia Jr.)
7. 6 171 Nikolai Kovalenko RW Loko Yaroslavl (Russia Jr.)
8. 7 202 Shamil Shmakov G Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk (Russia Jr.)

Colorado picked five forwards, one defenseman and two goaltenders at this year's draft, its eight total selections the most for the club since also making eight picks at the 2010 NHL Draft.

The Avalanche selected two Finnish-born players in the same draft for the first time since 1988 (C Petri Aaltonen, G Sakari Lindfors) and three players from Russian leagues, the most since 1989 (G, Sergei Mylnikov, C Viacheslav Bykov and RW Andrei Khomutov).

Video: Hepple after the 2018 NHL Draft

During the first round on Friday, the Avalanche selected forward Martin Kaut with the 16th overall pick. Kaut, 18, spent the 2017-18 campaign with HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech Republic's top professional league and recorded 16 points (9g, 7a) in 38 games. The Brno, Czech Republic, native split the 2016-17 campaign with Pardubice and HC Dynamo's junior team, registering one point (0g, 1a) in 26 outings with Dynamo and 16 points (4g, 12a) in 22 contests with the under-20 squad.

Kaut has represented his country in numerous international events, including the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., where he ranked fourth on the team with seven points (2g, 5a) in seven games en route to a fourth-place finish at the tournament. His five assists were tied for third on the team and second among the Czech forwards. The 6-foot-2, 176-pound right wing helped his country win gold for the first time at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in 2016, tallying four points (1g, 3a) in five games.

At 16th overall, Kaut is the second-highest selection of a Czech-born player in franchise history (Vaclav Nedorost, 14th overall, 2000).

Video: Martin Kaut on being drafted by the Avalanche

The Avalanche acquired the No. 64 and 146 overall selections in the draft in exchange for pick No. 58, and used the 64th pick to tab goaltender Justus Annunen from Karpat in Finland's junior league. Annunen, 18, played 26 games for Karpat in 2017-18, posting a 2.31 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound netminder also played in one contest for Karpat of Finland's top professional league. A Kempele, Finland, native, Annunen represented his country at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, registering a 2.00 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in six tournament games to help Finland capture the gold medal.

Video: Justus Annunen after being drafted by the Avalanche

Colorado selected forward Sampo Ranta from Sioux City of the USHL with the 78th overall pick in the third round. Ranta, 18, has spent the last two seasons with the Musketeers and tallied 37 points (23g, 14a) in 53 games during the 2017-18 campaign. He was tied for second on the team in points and ranked third in goals. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound left wing has totaled 46 points (29g, 17a) in 83 career USHL contests. A Naantali, Finland, native, Ranta was part of the country's gold-medal entry at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, notching two points (1g, 1a) in seven games. He is committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2018-19 season.

Video: Sampo Ranta on being drafted by the Avalanche

In the fourth round, the Avs selected forward Tyler Weiss from the U.S. National Team Development Program. Weiss, 18, has spent the last two seasons with the NTDP, tallying 31 points (12g, 19a) in 58 games in 2017-18 and totaling 60 points (20g, 40a) in 115 career contests with the program. A Raleigh, N.C., native, Weiss tallied four points (2g, 2a) at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship to help the United States earn the silver medal. The 5-foot-11, 150-pound forward is the first American-born player in franchise history to hail from the state of North Carolina. He's committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the 2018-19 season.

Video: Tyler Weiss was selected No. 109 overall by the Avs

With its fifth selection (140th overall) of the NHL Draft, Colorado nabbed forward Brandon Saigeon from the Ontario Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs. Saigeon, 20, has spent the last three seasons with Hamilton, serving as an alternate captain in 2017-18. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound center ranked second on the team with 70 points (35g, 35a) in 65 games this past season and added 25 points (18g, 7a), including a team-high 18 goals, in 21 games to help Hamilton win the R. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL champions. A Grimsby, Ontario, native, Saigeon has collected 159 points (68g, 91a) in 236 career OHL outings.

The Avalanche used its sixth pick of the draft (fifth round, 146th overall) on defenseman Danila Zhuravlyov from Irbis Kazan of Russia's junior league, the MHL. Zhuravlyov, 18, finished the 2017-18 campaign with 18 points (9g, 9a) in 28 games for Irbis Kazan and also played in 11 games for Bars Kazan in Russia's minor league, the VHL, tallying two points (1g, 1a). The Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, native represented his country at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, serving as an alternate captain and finishing with five points (0g, 5a) in five tournament games. He was tied for second on the team in points, first among the Russian defensemen, and was the team's leader in assists.

In the sixth round (171st overall), the Avs selected forward Nikolai Kovalenko from Loko Yaroslavl in the MHL. Kovalenko, 18, spent most of the 2017-18 campaign with Loko Yaroslavl, his second full season with the team. The 5-foot-10, 174-pound right wing collected 31 points (10g, 21a) in 33 games and added 12 points (1g, 11a) in 13 postseason contests to help Yaroslavl win the MHL championship. He also skated in two regular-season games for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL and made four postseason appearances. The Raleigh, N.C., native is the son of former Avalanche forward Andrei Kovalenko, who was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1990 NHL Draft and played 620 career NHL games, including nearly four seasons with the Quebec/Colorado franchise.

The Avalanche's final selection (seventh round, 202nd overall) was 6-foot-6, 192-pound goaltender Shamil Shmakov from Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk in the MHL. Shmakov, 18, posted a 2.03 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in 51 appearances for Novosibirsk in 2017-18 after recording a 2.74 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 15 contests the previous campaign.

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