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Colorado Avalanche 2010 Draft Surprises

Last year’s draft in Montreal was the highest the Colorado Avalanche had drafted since relocating to the Mile High City from Quebec City. It was a draft that most deemed to be successful, their first overall pick Matt Duchene was a finalist for the Calder, and their second round pick was Ryan O’Reilly.

This year’s draft the Avalanche fell to a familiar spot, towards the middle of the draft. Having made the playoffs yet being eliminated in the first round, the Avs found themselves drawing the number 17 spot.

Speculation about who Colorado would draft was everywhere. Most had the Avalanche picking Jarred Tinordi or Jack Campbell. Even though they had signed Peter Budaj to a one year extension, they needed someone down the line to help out with goaltending as Joe Sacco does not behave in a way that makes Avs fans think he trusts Budaj.

First Round
The Dallas Stars had been speculating the entire time that they were going to take a defenseman the first round, they told other clubs they were taking a strong player in the D position, only to draft Campbell from the Team USA U18 NTDP program. The Avs would surely grab Calvin Pickard in the first round was the general consensus amongst spectators in the stands. To the surprise of everyone, including the NHL and their draft pick, Joey Hishon was selected.

Hishon [pronounced Hish-en not Hish-ON] was ranked 55th amongst North American skaters. To be selected 17th overall, was a bit of a shock to most fans. Hishon is considered small by most standards, standing in at 5’10” and only weighing 170 lbs. What he lacks in size or rankings, he makes up for in talent, smarts, and hustle.

Early in this past season Hishon took a puck to the foot while blocking a shot. His foot turned out to be broken, but before that assessment could be made Hishon scored the game winning goal. Even in pain he had the talent and hustle to make plays happen. To those who follow the OHL for more than the past season, it came as no surprise that Hishon would be drafted higher than predicted.

In the 2008-2009 season he was named best playmaker, a title he beat both Ryan O’Reilly of the Avalanche and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for. That same year he was named best stickhandler for which he beat out Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the 2008-2009 season Hishon played 65 games and tallied 37 goals and 44 assists. This past season before he was injured he played 36 games with 16 goals and 24 assists. With limited games being played this season, one of the reasons the Avalanche picked him was he had been on their radar for over two years. Another? Aside from the usual hockey smarts, good work ethic, great skills, he had character that made them want him. Playing while injured, raising money through Hishon for Hodgkins, thriving under pressure and international playing experience all played into the Avs’ decision to go for Hishon.

The only real  thing Avs fans have to worry about when Hishon makes the team is a certain superstar who might stop by. Hishon hails from the same teeny tiny town as Canadian singing sensation and tween heart-throb Justin Bieber. Bieber has mentioned recently that he wanted to get involved with the NHL as he’s a huge hockey fan, so it wouldn’t be out of left field for him to sing the National Anthem or something like that at a game once Hishon starts playing.

Second Round
In the second round the Avalanche traded down two spots and took an additional draft pick. At spot number 49 they drafted Calvin Pickard, the number one ranked goaltender by CSS for North American Goalies. Pickard is slightly smaller which caused many clubs to look elsewhere, but his talent doesn’t lie. He’s size shouldn’t be an issue as his swiftness and willingness to work make up for that. While Pickard suffered from having a less than stellar team in front of him unlike Team USA’s Jack Campbell, he was able to get a 57 shot shut-out, something similar to another Avalanche goaltender. Like new teammate Ryan O’Reilly, he has a brother playing for the Nashville Predators, Chet Pickard who is also a goaltender. Pickard played 62 games this season and had a 3.09 GAA with a 0.914 save percentage.

Other Avalanche draftees include Michael Bournival drafted in the second round, 71st overall from the QMJHL Swahinigan Cataractes. He plays left wing and last season he played 58 games with 24 goals and 38 assists. The Avalanche did not draft in the third round.

Fourth Round
Stephen Silas was drafted in the fourth round, 95th overall a pick taken from the New York Islanders. Silas is a defenseman playing in the OHL for the Belleville Bulls. He played 66 games last season with 4 goals and 45 assists. A few picks later Sami Aittokallio was drafted 107th overall. Aittokallio, a goalie,  played in Finland and played games with . Should they need a good back up goalie who has the size Pickard lacks, Aittokallio fits in nicely. This past season he played with four different Finnish teams (due to Nationals, International play) with 34 games total. Lowest GAA at 1.75, highest at 3.38. Worst save percentage was 0.899 and his best went to 0.941. 

Fifth Round
In the fifth round they selected Troy Rutkowski from Portland Winterhawks at 137th overall. Rutkowski, a defenseman, played in 71 games with 12 goals and 31 assists. In that same round they selected Luke Walker also from the Portland Winterhawks at 139th overall. Walker is also a defenseman and he played 61 games with 27 goals and 30 assists.

Seventh Round
Their last pick was in the seventh round when they selected Luke Moffat of the US NTDP U18 team, 197th overall. Moffat played in 28 USHL games with 5 goals and 18 assists. He plays Center and brings with him valuable international play and experience from his tenure in Ann Arbor.

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