There is not a whole lot of consensus in this year’s crop of NHL mock drafts, especially at No. 4 where the Colorado Avalanche will select.
Bleacher Report and NHL.com both have the Avalanche taking Finnish defenseman Miro Heiskanen with the fourth pick, while draftsite.com has Colorado selecting Casey Mittelstadt of the USHL Green Bay Gamblers, and sportsnet.ca has Cale Makar going to Colorado from the Alberta Junior Hockey League in Canada.
Heiskanen or Makar would represent a change in mindset for the Avalanche front office, considering they are both defensemen and Colorado hasn’t spent an early first round pick on defense since 2009. Both players excelled in two-way roles for their respective clubs, and both are young enough, at 17 (Heiskanen) and 18 (Makar) to be continually molded to whatever system they end up in.
Makar played in 54 games in the AJHL, but even though he was playing against what many consider inferior competition, he dominated the league with 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists), good for sixth in the league and tops for defensemen.
Heiskanen has less experience than Makar, but has excelled on the big stage. He had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 37 games with HIFK in Liiga, the top league in Finland, and was dominant against his peers at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, where he notched 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in seven games.
Mittelstadt, on the other hand, is an offensive dynamo. The recent graduate from Eden Prairie high school in Minnesota was named Mr. Hockey for the state in his senior season before leading the USHL in points per game with 1.25 in 24 games with Green Bay.
Colorado struggled on both offense and defense, ranking dead last in the league in both goals scored and goals allowed, last year, so any pick they make has the chance to improve their productivity.