Lessons the Colorado Rockies can take from the Colorado Avalanche
By Luke Mullins
Draft and develop well
As noted earlier, the last time the Rockies picked in the top five, they selected Riley Pint. Drafting is by no means an exact science, but drafting and developing the next generation of homegrown talent is crucial. This is an area where the Rockies not only have room for improvement, but also some realistic hope for improvement. Historically, the Rockies have done a commendable job developing homegrown talent, and if they are ever going to win their first World Series title, this will be the cornerstone of their revitalization.
The Avalanche core was homegrown, and a direct result of playing through some tough seasons. Team Captain Gabriel Landeskog was drafted second overall in 2011. Nathan MacKinnon, who tied for the NHL lead in goals during the playoffs, was the first overall pick in 2013. Regular season team points leader Mikko Rantanen was the 10th overall pick in 2015. And after the worst season the NHL has seen in the post-lockout era, they dropped from the first pick to the fourth via the draft lottery and picked defenseman Cale Makar in 2017, who just brought home the Norris Trophy awarded to the league’s best defenseman as well as being voted the unanimous Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. Some are suggesting he may be the best hockey player in the world, and he’s only 23.
Forward Alex Newhook (16th overall) and defenseman Bo Byram (fourth overall) were selected in the first round of the 2019 draft and both played critical roles on the team and, at 21-years-old a piece, there’s a bright future ahead of them both.