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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

Second Round Success

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
At the past four NHL Entry Drafts, no team has made as many second-round selections as the Colorado Avalanche.

During that timeframe, the Avalanche has selected a total of 11 players in the second round, four more than the next closest club, the Washington Capitals.

It’s a trend that looks to continue at the 2009 Entry Draft, as the Avalanche presently holds two second-round choices. The club picked up an extra second rounder when it traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to Calgary in exchange for Lawrence Nycholat, Ryan Wilson and Calgary’s second-round choice (which originally belonged to Montreal) at the February trade deadline.

Like every team, Colorado has had its share of hits and misses at the draft, but its surplus of second-round picks has added depth to the club’s system and bodes quite well for future success.

The following is a look at Colorado’s second-round picks at the last four drafts, which have already paid off at the NHL level with the selection of Paul Stastny in 2005 and hopefully continues to do so down the line as talented prospects such as Ryan Stoa, T.J. Galiardi and Cameron Gaunce advance in their development.

2005 - Bolstering the System
In the first draft following the lockout, the Avalanche owned four selections in the second round as a result of a trio of trades. Although the club didn’t have a first-round pick, it still came out of the draft with very positive results.

Colorado used its own selection, the 34th overall pick, to tab Ryan Stoa, a power forward from the U.S. National Team Development Program. Stoa went on to attend the University of Minnesota, where he was the WCHA scoring champion while serving as team captain as a junior in 2008-09. The forward inked an entry-level deal with the Avalanche on March 27, 2009.

The Avs grabbed Paul Stastny with the 44th overall pick in 2005
Perhaps the biggest steal at the 2005 draft came at the 44th overall spot, a pick the Avs acquired when they sent Derek Morris and prospect Keith Ballard to Phoenix in exchange for Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen and a second-round pick on March 9, 2004. That draft choice proved to be the key to the deal for Colorado, as the club grabbed Paul Stastny from the University of Denver.

The talented center went on to play one more year for the Pioneers before earning a spot in the Avalanche’s lineup for the 2006-07 season. Stastny was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy that season, was selected to the NHL All-Star Game during the 2007-08 campaign and signed a five-year contract extension on Nov. 17, 2008.

With its two other selections, the Avalanche chose Tom Fritsche - now with the Lake Erie Monsters - in the 47th overall slot (a pick that was originally owned by the Washington Capitals) and Chris Durand at 52nd overall (originally the Ottawa Senators’ slot).

2006 - Sizing It Up
After selecting power forward Chris Stewart in the first round (18th overall), Colorado continued to add size and skill when it picked up bruising defenseman Nigel Williams with its second choice (51st overall). The 6-foot-4, 226-pound blueliner helped lead the Belleville Bulls to a Memorial Cup berth a season ago, finishing second among OHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 18 points (7g/11a) in 21 contests. Williams recently completed his first professional campaign by leading all Lake Erie defensemen with 21 points (7g/14a) in 70 games.

The Avalanche also picked up current Lake Erie forward Codey Burki at the 59th overall spot as part of a deal that sent Alex Tanguay to Calgary and brought back defenseman Jordan Leopold and second round choices in 2006 and 2007.

2007 - Three’s Company
With three second-round picks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Avs look to have made three solid choices to provide a foundation for the team’s future.

The team first selected defenseman Colby Cohen with its own pick, the 45th overall selection. Cohen currently plays at Boston University with Kevin Shattenkirk, Colorado’s top pick (14th overall) in the same draft. The defensive duo led the Terriers to the NCAA title in 2008-09, with the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Cohen scoring the game-winning goal in overtime during the national championship game against Miami (Ohio) University.

The club then continued to cash in on the Tanguay/Leopold trade from the year before, using a pick it acquired from Calgary to tab netminder Trevor Cann at the 49th overall spot. Cann had a solid 2007-08 season for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League before being traded to the London Knights early in the 2008-09 campaign. With a 35-15-0-1 record, 2.62 goals-against average and .919 save percentage, Cann was one of the top goaltenders in the OHL this past season.

T.J. Galiardi played 11 games with the Avs in 2008-09
The Avs ended up with a third pick in the second round due to some wheeling and dealing.

One day before the 2006-07 season opener, Colorado claimed forward George Parros off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. Parros played three games for the Avalanche before being swung to Anaheim for a second round pick (previously held by Atlanta) on Nov. 13. The move has paid dividends for both clubs, as Parros was part of the Ducks’ Stanley Cup championship squad that season and the Avalanche used the pick it acquired to select T.J. Galiardi, a promising young forward. Galiardi made his NHL debut during the 2008-09 campaign, notching four points (3g/1a) in 11 contests.

2008 - Taking a Defensive Stance
Without a first round pick - which was sent to Columbus in a trade deadline deal for defenseman Adam Foote - Colorado still grabbed a stellar prospect when it selected Cameron Gaunce with the 50th overall selection. Gaunce ranked fifth among OHL blueliners with 64 points (17g/47a) in 2008-09 and was tabbed to play in the 2009 OHL All-Star Classic. He also finished third in the voting for the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman and was named the Eastern Conference’s Best Defensive Defenseman in the 2008-09 OHL Coaches Poll.

The Avs snagged an additional second-rounder via a draft-day trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Colorado sent forward Brad Richardson to the Kings in exchange for the 61st overall selection (which originally belonged to Detroit and was sent to L.A. in a deal for defenseman Brad Stuart). With that pick, the final selection of the second round, Colorado tabbed prized goaltending prospect Peter Delmas from the Lewiston MAINEiacs. Delmas appeared in a team-high 38 games for Lewiston last season, helping the MAINEiacs reach the QMJHL playoffs.

In the end, the Avalanche’s strategy of stockpiling second-round picks in recent years should continue to pay dividends. That approach has boosted the club’s organizational depth by adding an impressive group of talented young prospects to its system.
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