Following one of the worst seasons in the NHL’s modern era, the Colorado Avalanche entered the night with the league’s best odds at a top three pick. The Avalanche had an 18% chance at picking first overall, a 16% chance at the second overall pick and a 14.1% chance at the third selection, leaving a 52% near coin flip chance that they would fall to fourth overall.
Of course the Avalanche and lady luck haven’t been friends in quite some time. After a season filled with bad play and bad bounces, it was only fair that she struck one last time, sinking the Avalanche down to fourth overall. Colorado was leapfrogged by the New Jersey Devils, who boasted an 8.5% chance at the 1st overall pick and then the Philadelphia Flyers, whose jumped all the way from 13th to second overall on 2.4% odds. Finally, kicking the Avalanche out of the top three was division rival Dallas. The Stars struck gold on a 6.4% chance and moved up five spots.
While there is no franchise altering talent at the top of this draft like Connor McDavid in 2015 or Auston Matthews in 2016, the 2017 draft still boasts an impressive trio of talent at the top of the draft. Centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are the leading candidates for the top pair of picks, while defenseman Miro Heiskanen has made a real late season run at the top three.
After pick three, when the Avalanche take the draft floor, the picture becomes fuzzy. Forwards Owen Tippett, Gabriel Vilardi, Casey Mittelstadt, and Cody Glass, among others, have all made a case for the fourth overall selection, but in truth, the field is wide open. The Avalanche could still find an impactful player at fourth overall, but with no obvious choice, it’s going to take a little luck and some very savvy scouting.
Either way, the Avs’ uphill battle towards relevance just got a little steeper.