Don't Forget #11

The Colorado Avalanche have a great opportunity to use the 2011 NHL Draft to catapult them into the upper echelon of hockey. To make good on that opportunity, Colorado will have to win big with the 11th overall pick. With the 2nd overall pick, the Avalanche will definitely pick up a franchise cornerstone, but also with the 11th pick, the Avs could add another pretty darn good player.

The Avalanche roster is not nearly deep enough to take a gamble with the 11th overall pick.

[caption id="attachment_56" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Brandon Saad ; Photo By Bruce Bennett, Getty Images"][/caption]

Who Colorado takes at #11 should either be a winger or a defenseman. If wingers like Brandon Saad or Tyler Biggs are still around at #11, the Avs are in business. Both of these players are big and talented. Both are power forwards who can free up room for Duchene, Stastny, and O’Reilly, but can also keep up in terms of skill. Quite simply, the kids down the middle need some playmates at wing.

If Colorado chooses to take a defenseman, they should attempt to either trade up a few picks or back a few picks. Outside of the top three picks, Dougie Hamilton is the best defenseman and will most likely go anywhere from #5 - #8. There is somewhat of a drop-off in defensive talent after Hamilton. The next best defensemen are Duncan Siemens and Ryan Murphy, both of which I expect to go after about the 15th pick.

The smartest decision would probably be with a winger, but depending on who the Avs take with the 2nd overall pick (either center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or defenseman Adam Larsson), they be more inclined to address defense (if they take RNH) or offense (if they take Larsson).

Colorado has plenty of options, but what isn’t an option is picking a bust with an early pick at #11.

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