The NHL Entry Draft is rapidly approaching.
After a disappointing 82-point season, the Colorado Avalanche will pick 10th — for the second year in a row — when the draft kicks off Friday. The Avalanche could go in a number of directions with the pick.
The first round of the draft will take place Friday night, and Rounds 2-7 will occur Saturday. You can tune into NBC Sports Network at 5:30 p.m. MT to watch the first round. In the meantime, here is a list of every No. 10 selection who was taken in the last five years. (Spoiler alert: The most recent name might look a little familiar.)
Player: Mikko Rantanen, RW, 6’4’’, 209 lbs.
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Last June, the Avalanche took this big, physical Finnish right winger. Rantanen, 19, was rated by many analysts as one of the top European players before the draft. He spent most of last season with the Avalanche’s top minor-league affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, who play in the American Hockey League. Rantanen recorded 24 goals and 36 assists in 52 games with San Antonio. He appeared in nine games for the Avalanche.
Player: Nick Ritchie, LW, 6’2’’, 226 lbs.
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Ritchie is another bruising forward taken 10th. The 20-year-old Canadian played his first season after getting drafted in the Ontario Hockey League. He then split time between the AHL San Diego Gulls and the Ducks last year. Ritchie played 33 games for Anaheim last season, recording two goals and two assists. He was also involved in one of the more violent fights of the year. Try to avoid angering him if you happen to see him out at a bar.
Player: Valeri Nischuskin, RW, 6’4’’, 205 lbs.
Team: Dallas Stars
Ah, now we’re getting to the guys who’ve made a significant impact at the NHL level. Nischuskin, a 21-year-old Russian, made his NHL debut the same year he was drafted. He played in 79 games for the Stars his rookie season and finished with 14 goals and 20 assists. Hip surgery cost him most of his sophomore campaign. Nischuskin returned last season and had an up-and-down third year (nine goals, 20 assists) for the upstart Stars.
Player: Slater Koekkoek, D, 6’2’’, 200 lbs.
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Injuries have held Koekkoek back since the Lightning chose him in the first round four years ago. The 22-year-old Canadian has dealt with three different shoulder injuries that have required surgery since getting drafted. He’s only appeared in 10 regular season games for Tampa Bay. However, during the playoffs he showed flashes of his potential, scoring a goal and assisting another in a loss to the Penguins.
Player: Jonas Brodin, D, 6’1’’, 194 lbs.
Team: Minnesota Wild
Brodin has been a mainstay on the Wild blue line for the last three seasons. A 22-year-old from Sweden, Brodin plays defense more like a 10-year veteran than someone who’s just above the U.S.’s legal drinking age. His offense needs some serious work — he had just seven points in 68 games last season — which could be why he’s been frequently named in trade rumors this off-season.