Prior to the draft, the Avs hinted that they would like to use their top selection on a forward or defenseman with a right-handed shot. Enter Red Deer Rebels (WHL) forward Conner Bleackley. Bleackley, 17, led his club in scoring this past season with 29 goals and 39 assists in 71 games. Unfortunately, his Rebels missed the playoffs.
"One thing that attracted us to Conner is his hockey sense and strength on the puck," said Avalanche Director of Amateur Scouting Rick Pracey. "We like his versatility, as we have seen him play all three forward positions. Being a right-handed shot, he potentially addresses a need on the right side on our organizational depth chart. We think he is a responsible two-way player, and his leadership qualities were a positive factor. It is very rare to see a 17-year-old captain of a major junior team. Other key quality traits we liked were his competitiveness and instincts." - ColoradoAvalanche.com