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Colorado and Europeans at the draft (2.)

Colorado and Europeans at the draft (2.)On the occasion of the NHL Global Series, we brought you a series of articles about the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL in Europe and European players.

Let’s take a look at all Europeans the Colorado Avalanche drafted from 1995 until 2017. The team drafted a total of 194 players, with 51 being from Europe (26.3%). Listed after the draft year are the name of the player, his nationality and position, and the overall position and round he was drafted. Players which have appeared in at least one game for the Avalanche (either during the regular season or the playoffs) are marked in burgundy. 


Jens Hellgren, Sweden, defenseman, 155th (sixth)

He still plays in Europe and is yet to play a single game in North America. 

Johan Alcen, Sweden, forward, 195th (seventh)

The same as Hellgren. 


Jonas Holos, Norway, defenseman, 170th (sixth)

One of the most talented Norwegian hockey players. He played one season in Colorado and the AHL. Aside from his brief stint overseas, he’s been playing his entire career in Europe. He currently plays in Switzerland. He also had success playing on the international level. 


Sami Aittokallio, Finland, goalie, 107th (fourth)

He played two games for Colorado, collapsing during the first one due to dehydration. He currently plays in Prague. 


Gabriel Landeskog, Sweden, forward, 2nd (first)

He’s been the captain of the Colorado Avalanche since his second season in the NHL. He won the World Championship once. 

Joachim Nermark, Sweden, forward, 93rd (fourth)

He currently plays in Europe and is yet to play a game in North America. 


Wilhelm Westlund, Sweden, defenseman, 183rd (seventh)

He currently plays in Europe. The Avalanche never offered him a contract. 


Anton Lindholm, Sweden defenseman, 144th (fifth)

He came into the NHL last season and has established himself as an important piece of the team’s defensive corps. 

Maximilian Pajpach, Slovakia, goalie, 174th (sixth)

He showed promise back when he played in Finland, but a year-long absence from hockey due to injury cost him his career. He currently plays in minor Slovak leagues and it’s more than certain that the Avalanche won’t offer him a contract.


Mikko Rantanen, Finland, forward, 10th (first)

The talented youngster spent a year in the AHL and is currently a rising star for the Avalanche.

Andrei Mironov, Russia, defenseman, 101st (fourth)

He played five seasons in the KHL and also won the league title. He’s in his first season with the Avalanche. 

Sergei Boikov, Russia, defenseman, 161st (sixth)

He’s playing his second season for the Avs’ minor league affiliate. He’s currently nursing an injury and will be out for an extended period. 

Gustav Olhaver, Sweden, forward, 191st (seventh)

He’s currently playing in Sweden. It remains to be seen if Colorado will give him a chance. 


Adam Werner, Sweden, goalie, 131st (fifth)

The same as Olhaver. 


Petr Kvaca, Czech Republic, goalie, 114th (fourth)

He currently plays back home in the Czech Republic. 

Igor Shvyryov, Russia, forward, 125th (fifth)

Little is known about the young Russian. He goes back and forth between the KHL and MHL. 

Denis Smirnov, Russia, forward, 156th (sixth)

He’s currently playing in the NCAA. 

Interesting facts:

  • The nationalities of Europeans drafted by the Avalanche: Sweden (14), Russia (11), Finland (8), Czech Republic (6), Slovakia (6), Germany (2), Switzerland, Ukraine and Latvia
  • The positions of drafted Europeans: forwards (31), defensemen (13), goalies (7)
  • Milan Hejduk was drafted in the 4th round by the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, but didn’t make it to the NHL until 1998
  • The very first Avalanche draft pick was German
  • In 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012, the Avs didn’t draft any European player
  • Between 1995 and 2004, the team always drafted an European, the current streak of drafting Europeans spanning back to 2013
  • Colorado drafted the most Europeans in a single draft in 1999, when they drafted 9 Europeans out of a total of 11 drafted players
  • The Avs drafted one European in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2016
  • Between 2005 and 2013, the Avs didn’t draft a single Russian
  • Out of 51 drafted players, 16 players played at least a single regular season or playoff game (31%)
  • The Avs drafted Europeans in the first round six times (Skoula, Kuleshov, Johansson, Nedorost, Landeskog, Rantanen), with only Johansson failing to play at least one game for the team. Kuleshov played the least amount of games (three)., Worldwide,
18/11/2017 - 08:00


NHL on Nov 11, 2017: "Eurolanche is the world's largest Colorado Avalanche fan club."