Aaron is back in the country again, and he joins Kevin to discuss the recent NHL Draft for the Colorado Avalanche. The boys talk about each pick and give an overall impression of the entire draft, which includes moves that the Avalanche both did and didn’t make.
Archive for Prospects
With their final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Travis Barron. Barron played in the OHL with the Ottawa 67s and is a left-shooting left wing.
Barron is 6’1″ and 187 lbs, so he has a bit of growing to do to fill out a pretty good frame. He’s a two-way player that has some good offensive finish to his game but it hasn’t really shown to be as consistent as teams would like. A project with a good middle/bottom-six potential.
Powerful tenacious winger. and grinder candidate who loves to jam the front with abandon. At times has shown nice stick-handling skills and at times some elusiveness, but the fact remains there have been long stretches where he seems slow, behind the play and unable to form a cohesiveness with teammates to make “looks” that go into the back of the net. Truly disappointing growth, and his 15 goals (two in the five playoff games) can’t be viewed as reason to be excited if he still on the board in the third round.
Barron is an all-situations type of player, one who can excel on top penalty killing or power play units. After playing centre in midget, Barron has transitioned to a wing position in Ottawa, where his strong defensive play makes him a great asset. While he isn’t the type of player that can carry an offense by himself, Barron has soft hands and a fantastic shot that allow him to play in a top-six role. While only slightly above average in size (187 pounds), Barron isn’t afraid to throw his weight around and use his body to protect pucks down low.
While the physical play and two-way game are certainly there, it’s certainly a little disappointing to see Barron’s production not take off like many anticipated. However, the potential for more is definitely there, and if Barron can show more flashes of high-end potential down the stretch and into the playoffs, it might be enough for a team to take a chance on him before the end of the third round.
Barron is a feisty two-way winger who settled into a support role for the 67’s when it became apparent he wasn’t living up to his potential on offense. He has good size to compliment an unquestionable work ethic, and even though he was a bit of a streaky player, Barron was able to stick within Ottawa’s top-six as the games became more important. He was the third overall pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection and one of the 67’s top players in the postseason. Barron is bound to find gainful employment in the NHL. The question is in what capacity?
With their sixth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche draft Nathan Clurman, another big defenseman but this time with a right shot. He was born in Boulder, CO and attended Culver Military Academy Prep.
He is 6’2″ and 198lbs., and will be attending Notre Dame next season.
Not much to see on Clurman as far as scouting reports are concerned. Basically, he’s god good size and is a pretty good skater but still has a bit of a project. Notre Damn will be good for him.
— BBKevin (@BrgBrigadeKevin) June 25, 2016
With their fifth round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Adam Werner, goaltender out of Sweden.
Werner is a HUGE goalie at 6’5″ and 198 lbs. He catches with his left hand and does have a good amount of international experience in his time playing.
There is very little out there on the web, but his numbers are fairly strong. The most I can find is on one of the HFBoards. He’s described as technically sound but still developing. His size is obviously an upside to his game.
Werner is 19 years old and, since he plays in Europe, is eligible to play in the AHL next season. Whether or not he will is yet to be seen.
I could not find any highlights for him. Will be interesting to see what he does.
With their third round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select defenseman Josh Anderson. Anderson plays in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars.
He has pretty good size at 6’1″ and 220lbs. Anderson is a defensive defenseman who punishes opponents in his own end. He is also not afraid to drop the gloves. Anderson definitely has a mean streak and opposing players know when he’s on the ice because they will be on their back side if they don’t.
Anderson is a heavy-hitting defensive defenseman with above average mobility who loves to mix it up and provide reliable play inside his own end. He’s an excellent crease-clearer who ensures any forward gets a wood massage to the back if daring enough to venture his way. Anderson’s upper body strength is significant — he is strong enough to tie up his man (and often someone elses) long enough to allow his goalie to react or clear a loose puck in the goal mouth. He hasn’t completely recovered from the back injury but was invited to participate in the interviews at the pre-draft combine. In terms of offense, don’t expect much of anything from Anderson, as he owns an average shot and in quintessential stay-at-home type fashion, only uses it when the puck finds him rather than the other way around. All things considered, he still has NHL potential thanks to his footwork and size.
A big defender who basically handles his end and then some. Has a nasty streak as wide as his shoulders. Has very little up ice push, but makes his end a challenge for opposing players who are looking for him as much as the puck. A steady stay home guy who logs plenty of ice time, because of his feared presence. One of the younger prospects in the class.
With the 40th overall selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche selected Cam Morrison. Morrison is a left wing with good size that played in the USHL this past season and will be attending Notre Dame.
He is 6’2″, 207 lbs. This is size that the Avalanche have to love though his skating is going to need a little bit of work as he develops. A bruising power forward, Morrison brings some serious muscle to his game. He creates havoc in front of the net and can bang home a lot of garbage goals.
A big, strong all-around player who thinks the game at a high level and executes plays with purpose and drive. Accelerates well and has no issues getting around the ice with haste; transition game will need some tweaks. Very good vision and puck skills, and has the size to make a difference driving to the net and causing havoc for the opposition’s defence. Defensively sound, using his size to his advantage along the boards and getting his stick in place to deflect passes out of harm’s way. Moving forward, Morrison will have every opportunity to develop into a smart power forward who can play in all situations and make it difficult on the opposition.
You might as well start calling him Mr. Touchdown, because watching this South Bend-bound monster on the ice is reminiscent of a bruising tight end who always finds the end zone. Morrison was named the USHL’s 2016 top rookie after winning the OJHL Rookie of the Year in 2015. He’s a classic power forward with a strong desire to get to the net and position himself to receive the puck in optimal scoring areas. Morrison, who boasts a heavy, accurate shot, plays like a bull in a china shop, but it’s generally done while under control and with his head up at all times. He can play either wing or center, but did the most damage on the flank of the Phantoms’ top line. While he’s known for collecting garbage goals from time to time, his vision and understanding of play development make him a legitimate playmaking threat as well. Morrison doesn’t have good separation speed, but he protects the puck well and makes sharp cuts to buy himself an extra second or two. Only 17 on Draft Day, Morrison will continue to bulk up as he utilizes the NCAA schedule while playing against older opponents.
Cam Morrison is developing a solid two-way, power game. A natural goal scorer, Morrison has an excellent array of shots. His wrist shot and snap shot are both hard and accurate, and feature a quick release. He is willing to use his size to drive the net, and has the hands to pounce on rebounds and get deflections when he is there. He is able to find soft spots in the opposition defence and get himself in open positions to get that shot off. Morrison is not a particularly creative passer, but he does create for his teammates through chasing down loose pucks, winning battles in the corners and then getting pucks to the front of the net. While he does not make a lot of fancy plays, he does make a lot of smart ones. At 6-foot 2-inches tall, and 203 pounds, Morrison is the rare prospect who already has a good amount of muscle on his frame. Of course he could add a little bit more, but he is well ahead of most of this draft class. He takes advantage of this in battles along the boards and in front of the net, as well as in maintaining possession in the cycle game.
…Morrison is also effective in the defensive zone, often being used to match up against other teams lines, as well as playing a role as a key penalty killer. He continues to show his hockey IQ in the defensive zone, reading the play and creating turnovers and transition offense. Morrison is also good in supporting the defence down low, and helping to contain opponents in the cycle game. Morrison also shows good face-off skills.
With their first selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Tyson Jost of the BCHL’s Penticton Vee’s.
See his prospect profile here.
There is a lot to like about Jost’s game. He’s an offensive catalyst that sees the game incredibly well. He’s creative, slippery, has outstanding vision and also plays well in his own zone.
Jost’s numbers are absolutely outstanding, tallying 104 points in the BCHL this past season. He also put up fantastic numbers at the World U18’s for Team Canada, for which he was also the captain. He was also voted to be the player in the draft most likely to become a captain in the NHL.
Jost will be attending the University of North Dakota in the fall, which will be outstanding for his development. The NCHC is the best conference in college hockey and North Dakota has a great history of developing great NHL players, including Jost’s idol Jonathan Toews.
Jost’s size isn’t a terrible downside, but it isn’t really a big upside. He’s 5’11” and 192 lbs, so that’s pretty okay, but packing a bit more muscle on his frame will be good for him.
About the only other thing to mention negatively for him is the fact that he played this past season in a distinctly inferior league, the BCHL. Quite simply, Jost was just flat better than everybody else, but it is hard to get a feel for how he is versus comparable talent. We got a picture of it at the U18s, but still, there is a lot that needs to be seen from Jost. Again, North Dakota will be very good for him.
Happy With the Pick?
Yeah, mostly. He’s definitely a pick that is going to take a couple of seasons before we know exactly how good he will be, but he’s going to a great program and has a big upside. For now, I’m okay with this pick.
Our next 2016 NHL Draft Prospect will be another mid-round possibility, Jack Kopacka.
For the previous prospect, Evan Fitzpatrick, click here.
Jack Kopacka plays for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. He is a left-shooting left wing who just finished his first full season with the Hounds.
Kopacka is 6’2″ and 190 lbs., and is the 33rd overall North American Skater according to NHL Central Scouting.
Kopacka may be the 33rd ranked North American player, but he is not projected to be drafted in the first two rounds. He is raw, but with some very strong offensive upside. His skating and shot both show a great deal of promise but he needs to play a more powerful game to go with his size, as well as improve his defensive game. Still a strong mid-round prospect with a decent upside.
Kopacka is a hard working forward with decent size. He contributes offensively and battles hard down low. He went through improvements all season long and established himself as a good top 6 forward in the OHL and a bonafide NHL draft prospect. Next year should be a coming out party for him in the Soo. He will need continue to improve his physicality, which is something that will be a cornerstone of his game.
A rebuilding year in Sault Ste Marie turned out to be a good thing for its young forwards, as the strong yet elusive Kopacka got a chance with top-six minutes to finish tied for fourth on the squad with 20 goals while firing off 179 shots. He’s a classic power forward in terms of size (6’2, 190) but he’s very quick and owns a pretty good shot. Like all big men, however, he can pull a lengthy vanishing act, and he doesn’t always battle through adversity in the form of clogged skating lanes and slogging matches.
Smart creative player with good puck skills, hands, a fluid stride and ability to beat defenders one on one. Needs to add edge and more strength.
Kopacka has turned into somewhat of a north-south winger with the Greyhounds, a valuable contributor on the forecheck if he can show a consistent physical game. His offensive game is advanced for a pre-draft player, as his skating ability and shot both stand out among his peers. He has been utilized on the power play for the Greyhounds this year, giving him a chance to show off his impressive offensive instincts and shot. He doesn’t possess the vision usually associated with an offensive stud, but has the skating and puck skills needed to eventually contribute to an NHL offense.
Kopacka isn’t a flashy player or one with a very high ceiling, but his puck skills and advanced skating are promising signs he can eventually become a strong winger for an NHL team’s middle six. If he can improve his defensive game and throw his weight around more often, his current draft projection (outside the top 60 picks) could turn Kopacka into a draft steal.
Kopacka’s size and skating ability make him and intriguing NHL prospect. However, there are some questions about his ceiling. With proper development, and a bit of luck he could end up as a solid second liner. It is more likely that he is a third line player, with the albility to move up in the lineup in case of injuries. Kopacka’s game resembles Viktor Stalberg, but this is a stylistic comparison only; and not one based on skill or ability.
Not a lot available of Kopacka, but here’s what I could find.
Game Highlights of a two-goal game for Kopacka, click here.
Should the Avalanche Draft Him?
I have mentioned several times that I expect this draft to be very heavy with forwards for the Avalanche. Kopacka is a project but has already shown some pretty excellent potential in his first OHL season. Kopacka’s skating definitely would have to be a positive trait for the Avalanche, as well as his strong size. Kopacka added about 12 pounds of muscle to his frame during this past season and I would expect that to continue as he continues to mature physically. As this starts to happen, hopefully it will also begin to cue him to play a bit nastier of a game and use his size to impose his will, a trait he currently lacks. I would be very interested to see Kopacka in the third round for the Avalanche, depending on the route the Avalanche choose.
Continuing with the 2016 NHL Draft prospects, we look at another goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche. This time, Evan Fitzpatrick.
For the previous prospect, Frederic Allard, click here.
Evan Fitzpatrick plays with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He is a left-catching goaltender who just finished his second season with the Phoenix.
Fitzpatrick is 6’2″ and 203 lbs and is the top ranked North American goalie according to NHL Central Scouting.
Fitzpatrick has a similar evaluation dilemma to our other goaltending prospect that we’ve covered, Antoine Samuel. Neither has very good numbers because they both play for pretty bad teams and they both get absolutely shelled by shots.
At any rate, Fitzpatrick is a classic butterfly goalie with good size and strong legs. He has improved the mental portion of his game, so vital for a goaltender, and uses his positioning to his advantage. This means he rarely has to panic, though he is physically capable, and none of his movement is wasted. Lots of positives to his game.
Evan Fitzpatrick is the complete package and has everything you could ever hope for to be the number one ranked goalie. Fitzpatrick brings a near perfect combination of physical and mental tools to his game. 2015 wasn’t kind to Fitzpatrick. He found himself struggling for stretches and his mantle of top goalie was taken away by Carter Hart.
Turn the page to 2016 and Fitzpatrick made sure 2016 was his year. The mental side of his game took a significant step forward. During breaks in games or after goals you could see him refocusing himself. He became a rock in the Sherbrooke net and proved himself further in the playoffs. Despite his team losing out quickly, Fitzpatrick was a large part of Sherbrooke making the series with the eventual QMJHL Finalists close as it could be.
Fitzpatrick understands and implements nearly every goalie technique at his disposal. Fitzpatrick is quite economical in his movements and rarely has the need to go into scramble mode. What goalie coaches, GM’s and scouts will find attractive about Fitzpatrick other than his obvious size is that Fitzpatrick just never breaks mentally and plays from start to finish with little to no lapses mentally.
Look for Fitzpatrick to go in the 2nd round of the draft and be a contender for the Canadian World Junior U-20 team starting position this coming December.
A classic butterfly goalie with an imposing silhouette who faced more rubber than most QMJHL goalies. Playing for a bad team has few perks, with one being able to assess his play under constant pressure.
Fitzpatrick has one of the highest ceilings of any goaltender in this draft, and already possesses the size and strength to be a workhorse in the pros. However, he’s still fairly inconsistent and must iron out some bad habits before he can take the next step and become an NHL starting goaltender.
Evan Fitzpatrick is a hybrid style netminder. With his excellent size, he covers a lot of net. He takes advantage of this by coming out to challenge shooters, and by having an excellent sense on his angles. He’s also very technically sound for a young netminder, with rebound control not often seen in someone his age. Fitzpatrick understands how to kick low shots into the corners and to swallow up those that come in hight. He keeps himself square to the puck at almost all times, even when making saves on second chance opportunities. Fitzpatrick takes away the bottom of the net with his quick legs. He gets down into the butterfly quickly and pops right back up. He also has an excellent glove hand, taking away the top of the net. Fitzpatrick tracks the puck well and his lateral movement is excellent. He has an excellent push with his legs, giving him strong lateral movement. His strong legs and good skating allow him to play the aggressive style and challenge shooters.
Fitzpatrick has extremely good athleticism. Even if out of position, Fitzpatrick never gives up on a play, and makes some highlight reel saves as a result. In addition to good technique, he has extremely fast reflexes, and the competitiveness to never give up on a play. Fitzpatrick shows a good demeanor. He stays calm in his net, and his coolness in the face of heavy pressure shows good leadership, and is something his teammates lean on. If he does give up a bad goal, he has the ability to quickly forget about it and be ready to make the next big save. He could use some work on playing the puck in his own end, developing the ability to make a strong outlet pass to his defenders could help his game.
Should the Avalanche Draft Him?
Goaltenders have to be the trickiest of all the positions to predict in the NHL Draft. It’s just impossible to know when teams are going to swoop in and snatch a goalie. I don’t believe anybody will be taking a goalie in the first round, so it should be likely that Fitzpatrick will be available when the Avalanche select at 40th overall. I do not believe the Avalanche will take a goalie in the second round (the last time they did was Calvin Pickard in 2010).
It’s hard to believe that Fitzpatrick would be available for the Avalanche when they select in the third round, but if he is I would jump at the chance. I have to be clear, I don’t think he will be available in the third round and I expect the Avalanche to select another forward in the second round. Still, crazy things happen in the draft so you never know; the Avalanche could somehow manage to swoop in and snatch Evan Fitzpatrick, who would be a great fit with Francois Allaire.
As we draw closer to the end of our season of prospect profiles we continue to look beyond the first round. This time we go back to Quebec for our next 2016 NHL Draft prospect, Frederic Allard.
For the previous prospect, Will Bitten, click here.
Frederic Allard plays with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He is a right-shooting defenseman with a two-way style of game.
Allard is 6’1″ and 179 lbs., and is the 32nd ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting.
Allard is a two-way defenseman with good size and solid skating ability. Most of what I find about him seems to focus on the offensive nature of his game, which can definitely be a red flag when it comes to defensive prospects. The 59 points he put up this past season was good enough for second among defenseman in the QMJHL, so the buzz about his offense is definitely warranted. Still, he needs to work on his defensive game a bit more, but he has all the tools to make the next steps.
A tenacious two-way defenceman that has a distinct willingness to do whatever it takes to keep his team up. Battles hard for puck possession and has a very good active stick. Not consistent enough to be relied upon in all situations, especially under high pressure, but is definitely getting there and his game is rounding out well at an accelerated pace. Possesses a hard, accurate shot and is creative with his passes. As such, his primary function as an offensive defenceman is to be played on the forecheck and in situations where pressure is sustained. All-in-all, a hard-nosed two-way defenceman that has the raw tools and the upward-trending tendencies that point to a positive development path. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
“Strong two-way play. Great offensive instincts and abilities. Not all that flashy, but when he’s on his game he is able to become a difference-making force from the back end. Think Justin Schultz but with a little bit more aggressiveness.
Allard won’t provide immediate help, but the leadership qualities and minute-munching he displayed for an overachieving Chicoutimi squad should make him a no-brainer for the Wings. He has a very hard shot, and he doesn’t shy away from using it. His one-on-one play is among the QMJHL’s best, and he will do whatever it takes to win.
Nice puck moving defenseman with four way skating ability, good vision, foot speed, and agility. QBs the PP with good puck distribution, and no hesitation in attempts to activate into the slot when the attack calls. Can make the outlet pass well. Still has a ways to go in honing his defensive side, but long term there is a foundation to build on.
Burgundy Brigade – By Jackie Walker:
Frederic Allard is the quintessential Avs defenseman pick at 40 if there ever was one. Good size at 6’1, 179lbs, strong skating and puck moving right shot defenseman that very quietly put up 59 points in the QMJHL, which tied him for second in scoring from defenseman. With numbers like those, Allard should garner more attention but he is from the remote small market Chicoutimi Sagueneens and likely didn’t get many viewings from scouts. Plus, a sizable leap in production from his previous two years in the league probably took a while for Allard to appear on the radar. This is where the Avs can continue their competitive advantage of mining the QMHJL for players who might have fallen through the cracks a bit on other draft boards. Allard will need to continue adding strength and refining his defensive game as well as keeping the production up after his breakout season.
Should the Avalanche Draft Him?
This is a draft that should be a very forward-heavy draft for the Avalanche. Basically, if they are going to be selecting a defenseman, it better be the right defenseman. Now there is a lot to like about Allard, but he definitely is a bit of a project. You can’t ignore his offensive numbers, but you have to decide whether or not his defensive game will come along well enough to contribute at the NHL level. There is no question that Allard has the tools necessary to do all this, and we have seen that Patrick Roy and company have a certain affinity for the Q.
At the end of the day, I don’t know if Allard is the one that the Avalanche break their draft plan to draft. I guess it depends where he’s available and whether the Avalanche have players listed before him. Allard appears to be a solid second round prospect and, at the 40th pick, I think there will probably be better players available. If something should happen and he falls to the third round, which I do not anticipate but you never know, then you could certainly do a lot worse than him.