Avs ready to pick No. 4 if Sen­a­tors hand it over

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers

There’s a chance — al­beit a very small one — that the Avalanche will have the fourth over­all pick for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive NHL draft.

The thing is, Colorado won’t know if it has that selec­tion un­til the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors are on the clock with the fourth pick June 22 at Amer­i­can Air­lines Cen­ter in Dal­las.

The Avs, who def­i­nitely own the 16th pick of the first round, will be ready to pick at No. 4 if the Sen­a­tors sur­prise them. Colorado ten­ta­tively ac­quired Ot­tawa’s 2018 first-round pick in the three-team Matt Duch­ene trade last fall. But it’s a top10-pro­tected pick, mean­ing the Sens can keep it this year and in­stead give Colorado their 2019 first-round pick, re­gard­less of the po­si­tion.

Avalanche direc­tor of scout­ing Alan Hep­ple ex­pects Ot­tawa to keep its fourth pick next week.

“That’s just a per­sonal opin­ion, but if they do hand it to us af­ter they’re on the clock at No. 4, then we’re ready — ready to go with that pick as well. So we’ve got to be pre­pared,” Hep­ple said in a con­fer­ence call Wed­nes­day.

Re­gard­less of what Ot­tawa chooses to do with the fourth pick, the Avs will ben­e­fit in the draft from the Duch­ene trade that moved seven pieces to Colorado, in­clud­ing de­fense­man Sam Gi­rard and for­ward Vladislav Kamenev from Nashville. The Avs ac­quired Nashville’s sec­ond-round pick this year, at No. 58, in that deal, giv­ing

Avs’ pre­sea­son sched­ule

On Wed­nes­day, the Avalanche un­veiled its 2018 pre­sea­son sched­ule: Date Op­po­nent Time Tues., Sept. 18 Ve­gas 7 p.m. Sat., Sept. 22 at Min­nesota 4 p.m. Mon., Sept. 24 at Ve­gas 8 p.m. Wed., Sept. 26 Dal­las 7 p.m. Fri­day, Sept. 28 Min­nesota 7 p.m. Sun., Sept. 30 at Dal­las 4 p.m. them three guar­an­teed picks in the first two rounds.

At No. 16 and be­yond, Hep­ple said the Avs will choose the best player avail­able, re­gard­less of po­si­tion.

“That’s the strat­egy right now. Whether some­thing comes up — some­thing hap­pens on the draft floor or what­ever — but right now it’s the best player,” Hep­ple said. He added: “Size has be­come a lit­tle bit of a dif­fer­ent thing now in the Na­tional Hockey League. You don’t need to be a great big guy to play any­more, but you have to have speed, you have to have hockey sense and you have to have com­pete.”

The Avs, who chose de­fense­man Cale Makar with the fourth pick a year ago, have eight over­all picks in the sev­en­round draft.

Four names that have sur­faced on many mock drafts at No. 16 are Fin­nish cen­ter Ras­mus Ku­pari, Swedish de­fense­man Filip Johnas­son, and left wing Joel Farabee and de­fense­man K’An­dre Miller of the U.S. Na­tional Devel­op­ment Pro­gram.

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