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Ginning Brings Grit To The Blue Line

The defenseman played in the SHL during the 2017-18 season

by Nick Hecht / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Adam Ginning is the No. 5-ranked International skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Adam Ginning, a 2018 NHL Draft prospect, is a large presence on the ice. At almost 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, the 18-year-old from Linkoping, Sweden, already has good size for a defenseman and is able to hold his own against older competition.

Ginning entered the development program for his hometown team at a young age and he quickly advanced through the organization. He played his first game with the Linkoping professional men's team of the Swedish Hockey League in the 2016-17 season, when he was only 16.

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Sandin Among Talented Young Players In Sault Ste. Marie

Draft-eligible defenseman had 45 points with the Greyhounds last season

by Saber Bufton / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22 and 23. Rasmus Sandin is the No. 11-ranked North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Rasmus Sandin could become the next great defenseman to be selected early in the NHL Draft out of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds organization.

A native of Uppsala, Sweden, Sandin was selected 52nd overall by the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2017 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

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Denisenko's Skill Stands Out

Russian forward has what NHL teams crave

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Grigori Denisenko is the No. 7-ranked International skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


In today's NHL where speed and skill are highly sought-after, Grigori Denisenko appears to fit the bill.

The Russian forward stands at 5-foot-10 and weighs 176 pounds, but it's his puck-handling ability and the pace in which he plays that makes him stand tall among other players expected to go early in the 2018 NHL Draft.

That combination of speed and skill could make him a perfect selection for the Colorado Avalanche at No. 16 overall, if he's still available. NHL Central Scouting ranks him as the seventh-best international skater heading into the 2018 draft.

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High Expectations For Veleno

The forward was the first player in the QMJHL to granted exceptional status

by Nick Hecht / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Joseph Veleno is the No. 8-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Joseph Veleno's NHL career has been discussed since he earned exceptional status in 2015 by the Canadian Hockey League, which allowed him to enter the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League a year early. Adding to the pressure of the status, which only four players had garnered before (including NHL stars Connor McDavid, John Tavares, and Aaron Ekblad), Veleno was taken first overall in the QMJHL Draft in 2015.

"Obviously, there are a lot of expectations that come with it," Veleno told NHL.com of his exceptional player position. "I'm just focusing on what I have to do and my expectations. For sure, there's a lot of pride and expectations getting the exceptional status and being the first one in the (QMJHL)."

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Hayton's Work Ethic Obvious On And Off The Ice

Forward had a breakout season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

by Nick Hecht / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Barrett Hayton is the No. 9-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Barrett Hayton showcased his talents this past season on a stacked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds club and played a key role in the team's success.

The then 17-year-old center began the year expecting to take a backseat to older players like Morgan Frost (the Philadelphia Flyers' 2017 first-round selection), four other forwards selected in the 2016 NHL Draft, and Hayden Verbeek, a three-year veteran of the Ontario Hockey League. Instead, Hayton established himself as a key piece at even strength, on the power play and penalty kill.

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Farabee Blazing New Trail For His Hockey Family

U.S. NTDP forward is a top prospect in this year's NHL Draft

by Nick Hecht / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Joel Farabee is the No. 12-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Joel Farabee grew up at the ice rink. The right wing for the United States National Team Development Program started playing hockey when he was just 3 years old, but even before that he was watching his older brothers, Jake and Jesse.

"Both my older brothers played so they got me into it. Everything just took off from there," said Farabee of his hockey roots to USAHockey.com. "I always watched them. They were on older teams. They inspired me to want to get to that level."

Farabee, 18, has a chance to be the first of the brothers drafted into the NHL, but he still learns from his brothers' careers, especially his oldest brother Jake, a forward for division-III Connecticut College.

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Order of Selection for 2018 NHL Draft

Two-day event begins Friday, June 22 in Dallas

by National Hockey League @NHL / NHL.com

The National Hockey League announced today the order of selection for the 2018 NHL Draft presented by adidas at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The first round will take place on Friday, June 22 (5:30 p.m. MT, NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVAS) and the subsequent rounds (2 through 7) on Saturday, June 23 (9 a.m. MT, NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVAS).

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Kotkaniemi Used To Playing Against Older Competition

Finnish 2018 draft prospect played his first season of pro hockey in 2017-18

by Scott MacDonald / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Jesperi Kotkaniemi is the No. 6-ranked International skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Playing against men older than him is nothing new for Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

The 17-year-old did just that last season with Porin Assat in Liiga, the highest level of professional hockey in Finland, and he didn't look out of place. In 57 pro games, the rookie center finished with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists)--the highest scoring total by an under-18 player in the league during the campaign.

His 29 points ranked third on Assat while his 19 assists were the second most on the club. Not bad for a teenager playing against older players, some of whom are a decade older than him.

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McLeod Following In His Brothers' Footsteps

Draft-eligible forward is the youngest of the three McLeod brothers

by Taylor Hodapp and Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Ryan McLeod is the No. 16-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.


Being the youngest of three hockey brothers is never an easy feat, but Ryan McLeod has been up for the challenge.

McLeod is the No.16-ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters and is expected to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Michael McLeod, the middle brother, was selected by the New Jersey Devils with the 12th overall pick in 2016 and Matt McLeod, the oldest of the three, just finished his junior year at Canisius College in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

"Ryan is more of a playmaker; his hockey instincts are a little bit better than Mike's," said Karl Stewart of NHL Central Scouting to NHL.com. "He's a true center who can synergize a line and can get the puck to his wingers."

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Avs Set To Take Best Available Players At 2018 Draft

Colorado currently has eight selections overall

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

With the 2018 NHL Draft less than two weeks away, the Colorado Avalanche is sticking with the same plan as it had in previous drafts--pick the best available player.

The Avs hold the 16th overall selection in the first round, the first time in franchise history that the club has picked in that spot.

"It's always been, I think the last three years since I have taken over, it's always been [pick] the best player. That's the strategy right now," said Alan Hepple, the Avalanche director of amateur scouting. "Whether something comes up--something that happens on the draft floor or whatever--right now it would be the best player."

In addition to its first-round pick, Colorado presently has seven more selections at this year's draft, including two in the second round (47th and 58th overall).

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