Colorado Avalanche 2021 NHL Draft Recapby Liz Pendergraft August 15, 2021 0 comments
After a disappointing run in the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche turned their eyes toward the draft. Wade Klippenstein is the new Director of Amateur Scouting, and he’s been with the team since 2016. He understands what the franchise’s front office is looking for in a pick. Along with general manager Joe Sakic, they will need to find at least one NHL player ready to help them get past the hump of the second round.
Make sure to check out all of our other NHL Draft Recaps.
Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71-SHL (Round 1, Pick 28)
Sean Behrens, D, US National U18 Team-USDP (Round 2, Pick 61)
Andrei Buyalsky, C – Dubuque Fighting Saints-USHL (Round 3, Pick 92)
Taylor Makar, C – Brooks Bandits-AJHL (Round 7, Pick 220)
The Avalanche had planned on having three draft picks. However, on July 15, they traded Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Mikhail Maltsev and the 61st overall pick in the 2021 Draft. This is the fewest choices the franchise has ever made, with only four picks in the entry draft. The Avalanche sat on their picks, making no moves or trades during the draft, and selected the four players they wanted. The players chosen will all need time to develop. Despite the fact that none of them are NHL ready, with each pick, the Avalanche chose the best player left on the board.
Best Pick: Oskar Olausson
He’s a versatile player with a great shot that, given time for development, could be a feather in the cap of Sakic. Olausson is also great on the penalty kill and has great stickhandling ability. There’s no doubt he has the skill and ability to be an NHL player. However, one concern about him is his mental processing. At times he can appear to not be in the game, but there’s plenty of time to work on that before he hits the ice for the Avalanche.
Worst Pick: Andrei Buyalsky
One of the oldest draftees, some are concerned his age and physical maturity could be a reason for his performance in the USHL. However, he’s offensive-minded and will need to work on his defense if he wants to have a chance at making the roster somewhere down the road. Buyalsky is a volume shooter and has had success with a power-forward style of play. It will be interesting to see if it translates to the collegiate level. The skill is there; it just needs a little tweaking and polishing.
Sleeper Pick: Taylor Makar
The younger brother of Cale Makar, Taylor is on his way to following in his brother’s footsteps. He’s been described as a power forward, and last season he played for AJHL’s Brooks Bandits grabbing five goals and 14 assists in 16 games. If he continues to grow his game, then Sakic might look like a genius with this choice, especially with the younger Makar brother being looked over in the past two drafts. However, he has time to develop, and it’s possible we’ll see the brothers together on the ice in a few years.
All the players, with the exception of Olausson, are expected to play at the collegiate level. Olausson will be staying in Sweden for the 2021-2022 season. So, the Avalanche appears to have chosen players that will take time to develop. Are they playing a long game? Perhaps. However, they will eventually need to show they were justified in the choices made and the development of those players.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images