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Avalanche open to trading first-round draft pick

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Thursday he would consider trading the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We wouldn't rule anything out," Sakic said. "When you get to the draft, a lot of things happen, a lot of different opportunities. If any opportunity comes, whether you're going up or down, we'd have to look at that for sure. But if we stay at 10, we'll be content at 10."

Barring a trade, the Avalanche will have six selections in the June 26-27 draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. They have a top-10 pick for the fourth time since arriving to Denver in 1995. The Avalanche selected Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick in 2013, Gabriel Landeskog with the second in 2011 and Matt Duchene with the third in 2009.

Colorado also enters the draft with picks in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. The Avalanche traded their fifth-round pick and PA Parenteau to the Montreal Canadiens last summer for Daniel Briere.

"We have our list, we've had our meetings and we're confident we're going to get a real good player that's going to have an opportunity to help us, whether it's next year or down the line," Sakic said. "It's going to be the best player available for us. Other rounds, we're going to look more to need."

This will be the first Avalanche draft overseen by Alan Hepple, who has replaced Rick Pracey as director of amateur scouting.

"I don't know if we've really changed (draft philosophy)," Sakic said. "Alan Hepple is in charge now. We're working with him and his entire staff. It's been a great group, and we're looking forward to this draft with Alan in charge."

The Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season after finishing first in the Central Division last season. They expect to have an opportunity to take a skilled defenseman or a big forward with the No. 10 pick in what Sakic said is a solid draft.

"A lot depends on what goes on in front of us," he said. "We know there's going to be some good (defensemen) that are going to be up top. There's also a lot of real good forwards. It's a deep draft, especially the top 12-13 (players). When you get down to the second and third and fourth rounds, there seems to be a pretty good grouping there as well."

Players who could be available for the Avalanche include defensemen Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings) and Zachary Werenski (University of Michigan). Kingston's Lawson Crouse, Finland's Mikko Rantanen and Sarnia's Pavel Zacha are among a group of highly ranked forwards.

The Avalanche haven't used a first-round pick on a defenseman since 2007 when they took Kevin Shattenkirk at No. 14. They traded Shattenkirk to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 18, 2011, with Chris Stewart and a 2011 second-round pick (Ty Rattie) for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a 2011 first-round pick (Duncan Siemens).

The first round of the draft is June 26 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 are June 27 (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

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