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Avs Select Six Players At 2011 Draft

by Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche made six selections at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft held Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Colorado drafted two players from the Ontario Hockey League, two from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one from the Western Hockey League and one from Sweden.  The Avs selected three forwards and three defensemen.

“We accomplished the overall goal this weekend,” said Avalanche Director of Amateur Scouting Rick Pracey.  “Having two picks in the top 11 was a great situation and Friday was an exciting night for the whole organization.  After all the planning and prep work by our amateur staff, it was a good feeling to execute our plan.”

During the first round on Friday, the Avalanche selected forward Gabriel Landeskog with the No. 2 overall pick and defenseman Duncan Siemens with the 11th overall choice.  The Avalanche became the first NHL team to pick two players within the first 11 selections since the Florida Panthers in 2002.

Landeskog, 18, was the Avalanche’s highest draft pick since the team moved to Colorado in 1995.  The previous high draft pick came in 2009, when the club selected Matt Duchene with the third overall choice.  Landeskog, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, captained the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) this past season, becoming the first European captain in the 48-year history of the Rangers franchise.  He was named captain at the age of 17 on Oct. 24, 2010, becoming the youngest player in 30 years to be named captain of the Kitchener Rangers.

Despite an ankle injury shortening his season to just 53 games, Landeskog led Kitchener with 36 goals and finished third with 66 points (36g/30a) in 53 games. The left winger finished second on the Rangers in plus/minus with a +27 rating.  Landeskog was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 2 overall North American skater entering the 2011 Entry Draft.  He was the top-ranked skater at the mid-term rankings

Siemens, 17, appeared in all 72 games for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this past season.  The Edmonton, Alberta native tallied 43 points (5g/38a) with a +40 plus/minus rating and 121 penalty minutes.  The 6-foot-3, 200-pound blueliner was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the fourth-best North American defenseman in its final rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft.  He was tabbed as the 10th best North American skater overall.

In the fourth round (93rd overall), the Avalanche selected center Joachim Nermark out of Linkoping Jr. in Sweden.  The 6-foot-1, 187-pound native of Sunne, Sweden was rated No. 8 among international skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft.  Nermark, 18, tallied 26 points (8g/18a) in 37 games with Linkoping Jr. this year.

The Avs used their fifth-round pick (123rd overall) on forward Garrett Meurs from Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. The Wingham, Ontario native tallied 41 points (10g/31a) with a +7 plus/minus rating in 68 games with the Whalers this past season.  He added three points (1g/2a) in 11 playoff contests.  The 5-foot-10, 169-pound center/wing was rated No. 79 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft.

Colorado’s sixth round choice was Gabriel Beaupre from Val-D’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The 6-foot-2, 199-pound defenseman skated in 66 games for Val D’Or this past season, tallying 18 points (3g/15a) and 73 penalty minutes.  The Levis, Quebec native also appeared in all four playoff contests for the Foreurs.

With the Avalanche’s final pick (seventh round, 183rd overall), the club selected defenseman Dillon Donnelly from Shawinigan of the QMJHL.  Donnelly led Shawinigan with 153 penalty minutes and added eight points (1g/7a) in 63 games.  A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Dillon’s father, Gord, was drafted 62nd overall in 1981 by St. Louis. Gord played for Quebec, Winnipeg, Buffalo and Dallas appearing in 554 games (28g/41a), totaling 2,069 penalty minutes.  He is currently a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks.
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