The NHL held its draft lottery this evening, and as a result, the Avs retained the second overall pick. The Avalanche had an 18.8 percent chance of ending up with the top overall pick. However, it was the New Jersey Devils, who had a 3.6 percent chance, that won the lottery and moved up from the eighth to fourth overall pick. The Avalanche will also receive the St Louis Blues first round pick in the 2011 draft, which will be 11th overall. This will be a completion of the blockbuster trade between the two clubs.
So as it stands heading into the draft on June 24-25 in St Paul, MN, the Avs will have two first round picks, and a pick in each round four through seven. The Avs second round pick now belongs to the St Louis Blues and the Avs third round pick belongs to the New York Islanders. For those that do not recall, that pick was traded to the Islanders during the draft last year for New York's fourth round pick in the 2010 draft that was used on Belleville Bulls defenseman Stephen Silas.
Much to no one's surprise, Avs GM Greg Sherman did not tip his hand as to who the Avs will select. One thing that is for certain, this is when the Avs chief scout, Rick Pracey, truly shines. While someone like Drummondville's (QMJHL) Sean Couturier or Saint John center Jonathan Huberdeau could sneak into the top three, it's likely the Avs will select one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer (WHL), Gabriel Landeskog, Kitchener (OHL), or Skelleftea (SEL) defenseman Adam Larsson with the second overall pick.
The second first round pick becomes more intriguing. Do the Avs use the pick in a trade or do they opt for a Duncan Siemens, Saskatoon (WHL), college bound Tyler Biggs (USNTDP), or perhaps the super talented but small Rocco Grimaldi (USNTDP)? Whatever the Avs do with this selection, they can't afford to miss. Not just because of the overall impact of the trade with St Louis, but with no picks in the second or third rounds, and this not being an extremely deep draft, the Avs have to avoid any serious mis-steps.