When the ping-pong balls finally settled during the 2009 NHL Draft Drawing, the order of the top five teams remained unchanged.
The Colorado Avalanche, which finished 28th out of 30 teams this past season, will own the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Under the weighted system, the Avalanche had three possible outcomes in Tuesday’s Draft Drawing. The club would gain either the No. 1 overall selection (a 14.2% chance), stay at No. 3 if the numbers held true, or drop one spot to No. 4 if one of the 24th-27th ranked teams came out victorious in the drawing.
In the end, the New York Islanders, which finished with an NHL-low 61 points, retained the top overall pick, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (66 points) and the Avalanche (69 points). The Atlanta Thrashers and Los Angeles Kings will pick fourth and fifth, respectively.
The consensus top two prospects in this year’s draft are center John Tavares of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights and Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. However, the 2009 draft class is considered very deep at the top end.
“This draft is a very strong draft and I know the hockey staff feels very confident that there’s going to be an elite player available,” said Avalanche Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington
. “We’re excited to be able to add that kind of asset to our organization.”
Centers Matt Duchene
(Brampton – OHL), Evander Kane (Vancouver – WHL) and Brayden Schenn (Brandon – WHL) are the next three highest rated North American skaters, according to NHL Central Scouting. In the organization’s European rankings, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Jacob Josefson are the highest-rated forwards, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the second-rated blueliner behind Hedman.
The third overall selection will be the highest pick for the Avalanche since the team moved to Colorado prior to the 1995-96 season.
Only four previous times has the franchise picked in the top three, the first of which came in 1988 when the Quebec Nordiques tabbed Curtis Leschyshyn with the No. 3 overall choice. The Nordiques then had a string where the club owned the top overall pick for three consecutive years, selecting Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990) and Eric Lindros (1991).
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday, June 26 (round one) and Saturday, June 27 (rounds 2-7).