With a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final series, the Colorado Avalanche are just one win away from capturing their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.
But it's hard to believe that just five years ago, the Avalanche had a miserable season when the team finished last in the overall NHL standings with an unenviable record of 22 wins and just 48 points in 82 games.
However, Joe Sakic's troupe had not been lucky with the lottery and had to settle for the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. That year, many NHL scouts had placed prospect Nolan Patrick
at the top of their list and he was eventually selected second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, behind Nico Hischier
Finnish defenseman Miro Heiskanen
was selected third overall by the Dallas Stars, which means the Avalanche had to settle for another defenseman with their fourth pick, a certain Cale Makar
, who played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Well, believe it or not, as reported by my colleagues at Fanadiens.com
, Avalanche star forward Nathan MacKinnon
had been highly critical of the pick and revealed in a recent interview that he himself was among the detractors of Makar following his selection by the Avalanche.
In his own words, he considered the AJHL players to be terrible.
He really liked Hischier and Patrick.
Five years later, both players are among the NHL's elite and the Avalanche are just one win away from the Stanley Cup. What about Makar, who just won his first Norris Trophy. He is also a favorite to win the Conn-Smythe Trophy. Not bad for a player described as terrible by MacKinnon!
As for Nolan Patrick
, preferred by the Flyers organization to Cale Makar
, his career has been plagued by injuries and he never became the player he was expected to be.
It's safe to say that if we were to redo the 2017 draft, Makar would definitely be the first player selected.