Latest Update: Avalanche trades out of first round of NHL draft, acquiring three picks in deal with Utah

LAS VEGAS: The Colorado Avalanche, who have spent years making transactions to try and win the Stanley Cup, started the season Friday short on draft capital.

Late in the first round of the NHL draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas, Chris MacFarland started to alter that.

Through a trade with the Utah Hockey Club, the general manager of the Avs was able to convert the team’s No. 24 draft pick into three selections. In exchange for picks Nos. 38 and 71 in the 2024 draft as well as a second-round selection in the 2025 draft, the Avalanche sent No. 24 to Utah.

After falling 14 spots to gain a second and a third this year as well as a second the following year, MacFarland stated, “We felt it was pretty good value.” “Especially since there was no first, second, or third the following year.”
Avs players Darcy Kuemper and Artturi Lehkonen, two important members of the 2022 Stanley Cup winning team, were acquired in exchange for the organization’s second and third round draft selections in 2024. They erased Ryan Johansen’s $4 million cap hit for the upcoming season and acquired Casey Mittelstadt and Sean Walker in exchange for the first 2025 in a two-transaction swap.

Lars Eller and Yakov Trenin have been exchanged for the 2025 second- and third-round picks.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 26: Goalie Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Washington Capitals tends the net against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Capital One Arena on February 26, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

“I believe there is a fine line when you’re in win-now mode,” MacFarland stated. “To augment your star power, you’re searching for low (cap hit) or entry-level players. The draft, which is frequently held high, is one of the primary avenues for acquiring entry-level players. You really have to strike out on a late pick or a college free agent when you’re shifting those picks.

As part of this agreement with Utah, Colorado will acquire the second-round pick of the New York Rangers in the 2025 draft. The Utah Hockey Club sent three of its first 20 selections in the first three rounds of the following three drafts to Colorado in order to advance and select Cole Beaudoin, an OHL center for the Barrie Colts.
In addition to trading for centers Ryan Johansen and Ross Colton, McFarland and the Avs had a busy 2023 NHL draft, selecting defenseman Mikhail Gulyayev (No. 31) and center Calum Ritchie (No. 27), who are unquestionably the team’s top two prospects.

Other than those two and former defenseman Sean Behrens from the University of Denver, the Avs have one of the weakest groups of prospects in the league. This trade might bring in a number of players who, after Ritchie and Gulyayev, would rank after Behrens in the club’s prospect hierarchy. Alternatively, it can give the team additional assets to trade for NHL players in order to instantly bolster the lineup.

The 2024 NHL draft’s second through seventh rounds begin on Saturday morning in Las Vegas. The Avs now have five selections in the final three rounds in addition to picks Nos. 38, 71, and 121 in rounds two through four.
According to MacFarland, “We like the clusters (of prospects) that we’ve got going.” There were a few guys there that we really enjoyed. The pick is number twenty-four. Some talented hockey players exist. However, there are still a lot of talented players available, so maybe No. 38 will bring one.


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