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Development Focus For Avs' 2021 Draft Class

Three of the picks are heading to college, while another is playing in Sweden

by Ron Knabenbauer / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche appears to have played the long game with its selections in the 2021 NHL Draft.

In a year like no other where games were far less than normal for draft-eligible players and live viewings of the prospects for scouts were even more limited due to COVID-19, allowing a little extra time for seasoning might not be the worst thing for the newest crop of NHL talent.

The Avalanche had four picks, one each in the first three round and another in the seventh (fifth to last), and chose three players that are committed to playing in college and another that is skating in Sweden and has options for his development. The four draft choices were the fewest the franchise has ever made in the entry draft.

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Avalanche Selects Four Players at 2021 NHL Draft

Colorado chooses three forwards and one defenseman

by Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club made four selections at the 2021 NHL Draft held Friday and Saturday.

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Avalanche Selects Taylor Makar 220th Overall in 2021 NHL Draft

Forward to play college hockey at UMass in 2021-22

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche selected forward Taylor Makar in the seventh round (No. 220 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Makar, 20, has spent the past three-plus seasons with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and has amassed 61 points (17 goals, 44 assists) in 104 games. The 6-foot-1, 172-pound left wing was the captain of the Bandits in 2020-21 and had 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 16 outings during the campaign.

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Avalanche Selects Andrei Buyalsky 92nd Overall in 2021 NHL Draft

Kazakhstan forward is committed to play college hockey at Vermont

by Ron Knabenbauer / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche selected center Andrei Buyalsky with the 92nd overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NHL Draft on Saturday.

Buyalsky, 20, split last season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League and HK Almaty in his home country of Kazakhstan, where he produced five goals and eight assists in 24 games. In 36 USHL contests with Dubuque in 2020-21, Buyalsky had 15 goals and 17 assists.

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Avalanche Selects Sean Behrens 61st Overall in 2021 NHL Draft

The defenseman is committed to play at the University of Denver in the fall

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche selected defenseman Sean Behrens at No. 61 overall in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft on Saturday.

Behrens, 18, has played the past two years for the U.S. National Team Development Program. The blueliner recorded 35 points (seven goals, 28 assists) in 46 total games in 2020-21. The 5-foot-10, 177-pounder had one goal and three assists in five games at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship this past spring.

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Avs Get Their Guy in Olausson

Swedish forward fits the team's identity

by Ron Knabenbauer / ColoradoAvalanche.com

As the 2021 NHL Draft snaked through the first round and the Colorado Avalanche's 28th overall pick grew closer, there was a rise in anxiety in the team's war room.

A player that the Avs had their eye on hadn't been selected yet, but would he still be available once it was their turn? It wasn't until after the Nashville Predators traded up to select Zachary L'Heureux at No. 27 that Colorado general manager Joe Sakic, director of amateur scouting Wade Klippenstein and the rest of the staff could enjoy a sigh of relief. They knew they got their guy in Oskar Olausson.

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Avalanche Selects Oskar Olausson 28th Overall in 2021 NHL Draft

Swedish forward chosen in the first round

by Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club selected forward Oskar Olausson with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft on Friday night.

Olausson, 18, made his debut in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional hockey league in Sweden, during the 2020-21 campaign and recorded four points (3g/1a) in 16 games for HV71. He began the year with HV71's team in J20 Nationell, Sweden's junior league, and collected 27 points (14g/13a) in 16 games before joining the senior team. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right wing was loaned to Södertälje in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second-tier league, to finish the campaign, recording six points (3g/3a) in 11 outings. Olausson has totaled 47 points (22g/25a) in 48 career games in J20 Nationell, all with the HV71 organization.

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Colorado at the 2021 NHL Draft

Avalanche enters draft with four selections

by Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche enters the 2021 NHL Draft with four selections, including the 28th overall pick in Round 1. This year's entry draft will take place virtually on Friday and Saturday, July 23-24.

Colorado enters the annual selection with a pick in the first (28th overall), second (61st), third (92nd) and seventh rounds (220th). It is the fourth time in franchise history that the Avalanche will draft in the No. 28 spot after selecting forwards Jonas Johansson in 2002, Ramzi Abid in 1998 and Paul Brousseau in 1992.

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Seattle Selects Donskoi in Expansion Draft

The forward spent two years with the Avalanche

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Seattle Kraken selected Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, the league revealed on Wednesday in a special broadcast from Seattle, Washington.

Terms of the NHL Expansion Draft stated that every team was required to expose at least two forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender that are under contract for the 2021-22 season and have played a minimum of either 27 NHL games in 2020-21 or 54 NHL contests during the previous two seasons.

The Kraken is the 32nd franchise to join the NHL and the first since the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18. The expansion draft rules were the same for Seattle as they were for Vegas.

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Avalanche Sees Opportunity in 2021 Draft

Colorado currently has four selections in the annual event

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The 2021 NHL Draft is unlike past year's iterations with many of the draft-eligible prospects playing less than they had in previous seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with some of that uncertainty comes valuable opportunity.

With the 2020-21 season presenting travel and border restrictions as well as quarantining requirements, this year's prospects were only able to play in a limited number of games, many of which did not allow NHL scouts to be in attendance.

In Canada, the teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League logged anywhere from 16 to 43 outings while the Ontario Hockey League wasn't able to get any games in. In the United States, the USHL saw its clubs play between 49 and 54 contests and the NCAA also featured a limited schedule.

"With mystery comes opportunity. There are going to be some players that are selected maybe later this year that are going to be better than the guys selected before them," said Colorado Avalanche director of amateur scouting Wade Klippenstein. "There are some challenges. We have come up with some creative ways to try and simulate what we didn't see whether it's through our analytics department, whether it is through video or other means. I think every team has done their best with what we have to work with.

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