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Colorado Retains No. 2 Pick In Draft

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After all was said and done and the ping-pong balls had come to rest at the 2011 NHL Draft Drawing, the Colorado Avalanche retained the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

The National Hockey League Draft Drawing utilizes a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2011 NHL Draft. There were three possible outcomes for the Avalanche in Tuesday night’s drawing. The club could have won the lottery (an 18.8% chance) and gained the top overall pick, stayed where it was in the draft order, or dropped down to the No. 3 spot if Florida, the New York Islanders, Ottawa or Atlanta had won the lottery.

A team can move up four spots in the draft order by winning the drawing, meaning only the teams with the five lowest point totals (or those teams who have acquired a club's pick) are eligible for the top spot.

The New Jersey Devils were the winners of the Draft Lottery, moving up from the No. 8 spot to the No. 4 spot. As a result, Edmonton stayed in the No. 1 position, Colorado retained the No. 2 pick and Florida remained at No. 3.

The second overall selection will be the highest pick for the Avalanche since the team moved to Colorado prior to the 1995-96 season. The club’s highest selection prior to this year came two seasons ago, when Colorado tabbed center Matt Duchene with the No. 3 overall pick.

Only five previous times has the franchise picked in the top three, the first of which came at the 1988 NHL Draft when the Quebec Nordiques selected defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn with the No. 3 overall choice. Quebec then owned the top overall pick in three consecutive years, taking Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990) and Eric Lindros (1991).

Prior to tonight, the team with the lowest overall point total had retained the top selection in each of the past three Draft Drawings.

Edmonton chose Taylor Hall No. 1 overall in 2010, the New York Islanders selected John Tavares with the top pick in 2009 and the Tampa Bay Lightning grabbed Steven Stamkos in the No. 1 slot in 2008.

The last example of a club moving up to gain the top overall pick had been at the 2007 Draft Drawing. That year, the Chicago Blackhawks went from the fifth overall pick to the first and subsequently selected Patrick Kane in the top spot.

Also of note, the Avalanche now officially owns the No. 11 overall selection in the first round. Colorado acquired the conditional first-round pick from St. Louis in the trade that brought defenseman Erik Johnson and forward Jay McClement to the Avalanche on Feb. 18. The pick was top-10 protected, meaning that St. Louis had the option of holding onto it if they had either finished among the NHL’s bottom 10 teams or had won the draft lottery (which would have moved them up four positions to the No. 7 slot).

As a result, Colorado will relinquish its second-round pick in this year’s draft to the Blues as part of that same deal.

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., with the first round getting underway on Friday, June 24, and the subsequent rounds (two through seven) being held on Saturday, June 25.

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