VANCOUVER, B.C - The Colorado Avalanche made six selections at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft held Saturday in Vancouver. Three of Colorado's six picks came in the first two rounds and five of the picks came within the first four rounds.
Colorado drafted three players from the U.S. National Team Development Program, one player from the Ontario Hockey League, one from the Western Hockey League and one from the college ranks. Overall, the Avs wound up with three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender.
The Avalanche selected forward Chris Stewart with the 18th overall pick in the first round. Stewart, who was ranked as the No. 8 prospect in North America by the NHL Central Scouting Service, scored 37 goals with 50 assists and 113 penalty minutes in 62 games with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound right wing finished 13th in the OHL scoring race with 87 points and placed 18th in goals. Stewart is the Avalanche's highest draft choice since taking Vaclav Nedorost 14th overall in 2000.
"Chris has a great combination of size, strength and skill," said Avalanche Chief Scout Jim Hammett. "We had him very high on our list, mainly because of the raw power he possesses."
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Stewart participated in the 2006 OHL All-Star Game as well as the 2006 CHL Top Prospects Game in Ottawa. Central Scouting describes him as: "A power forward who is tough to move in front in the slot. (He) has a physical presence and is able to separate opponents from the puck."
The Avalanche selected two players in the second round, drafting defenseman Nigel Williams (Aurora, Ill.) with the 51st overall selection and center Codey Burki (Winnipeg, Man.) with the 59th pick, received from Calgary earlier in the day.
The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Williams spent the past season with the U.S. National Team Development Program, where he had 15 points (6g/9a) in 48 games. Ranked 13th overall among North American skaters by the Central Scouting Service, Williams will attend the University of Wisconsin this fall.
Burki led the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings in scoring last season with 61 points in 70 games (27g/34a). The 6-0, 190-pound forward was tabbed as the 18th best prospect among North American skaters by Central Scouting. Burki earned MVP honors at this year's CHL Top Prospects Game.
The Avalanche used its next two picks on players from the U.S. Development Program, selecting center Michael Carman in the third round (81st overall) and then trading picks with the New York Islanders to select defenseman Kevin Montgomery in the fourth round (110th overall). The Islanders received Colorado's fifth round (141st overall) and sixth round picks (171st).
A native of Augusta, Georgia, Carman recorded 15 goals and 44 points in 51 games with the US Under-18 Team. The 6-foot-0, 180-pound forward is described by Central Scouting as having "impressive speed with good balance and agility." He will attend the University of Minnesota this fall.
Montgomery, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound blueliner, is described by the Central Scouting Service as being "a strong offensive defenseman who will go end-to-end." Montgomery notched 21 points (6g/15a) and 74 penalty minutes in 51 games for the Under-18 Team. The Rochester, New York native will attend Ohio State University this fall.
Colorado rounded out the draft by picking goaltender Billy Sauer in the seventh round (201st overall). The 6-foot-2, 170-pound netminder was ranked as the 13th best North American goaltender by Central Scouting. The Rochester, NY native played in 23 games for the University of Michigan this season, posting an 11-6-4 record with a 3.04 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.
AVALANCHE 2006 DRAFT PICKS
Rd (Pick) · Player · Pos · Team (League)
1 (18) Chris Stewart, RW, Kingston (OHL)
2 (51) Nigel Williams, D, US NTDP (USA)
2 (59) Codey Burki, C, Brandon (WHL)
3 (81) Michael Carman, C, US NTDP (USA)
4 (110) Kevin Montgomery, D, US NTDP (USA)
7 (201) Billy Sauer, G, Univ. of Michigan (CCHA)
Click here for bios of Avalanche's 2006 draft picks