In what could be a historic NHL draft for the NCAA, if the Avalanche maintains the 28th pick in the first round on Friday night, two up-and-coming University of Denver defensemen could still be on board.
Among draft-eligible North American skaters, defensemen Shai Baum and Sean Behrens are ranked No. 20 and No. 24, respectively. When factoring in the European skaters and all the goalkeepers, Buium and/or Behrens could have slipped into the wheelhouse of the avalanche at number 28.
“It would be cool. It would be unrealistic,” Baume said. “Black Capricorn is my favorite player.”
Buium said he and Behrens recently conducted separate interviews with Avs in a video conference call.
“There was a bunch of people in the room,” Baume said. “I thought it went well. I loved that he said he liked my game and that I could be a player in the NHL.
In a mock draft on NHL.com, Two writers projected Baume and Behrens to go to number 26 in the Minnesota Wild., respectively. Wade Klippenstein, Colorado’s new director of amateur scouting, said AVS will select the best player available, regardless of the situation.
Many of Friday’s top picks are bound to be current or upcoming college players. 1 pick (potential Michigan defenseman Owen Powers) only for the fourth time, NCAA players leading 1-2 for only the second time, and five NCAA players or rookies selected in the top 10 for the first time.
Avs knows Baum and Behrens well as Klippenstein is a close friend of DU assistant coach Tavis McMillan and Dallas Ferguson.
Klippenstein played college hockey in Fairbanks, Alaska with McMillan and Ferguson in the early 1990s, and the trio coached the Nannooks from 2004 to 2007 with McMillan as head coach.
“It’s clear how it’s coming back here with me working with the people who live at AVS and DU,” Klippenstein said. “Two great hockey minds on whom I sometimes depend too much, and vice versa.”
Both Buium and Behrens are 18 years old, born within five days of each other in March 2003.
Baume, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, is a San Diego native who has played the last two seasons with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States (Junior) Hockey League.
Behrens, 5-10, 177, Barrington, Ill. and has played for the US National Development Team’s 17-under and 18U teams in Ann Arbor, Michigan, over the past two years. He was the alternate captain for Team USA at the 2021 18-under World Championships in Frisco, Texas, in May.
The Avalanche have drafted only three DU players since 1995 – Littleton forward JD Corbin in 2004, Paul Stastney in 2005 and defenseman Will Butcher in 2013. Only Stastany played for AVS.
DU will likely have a third one coming this weekend, plus another one coming in the fall of 2022. Forward Carter Mazur, 19, ranks 67th among North American skaters and will be a pioneer this coming season. He is from Jackson, Michigan, and played the last two seasons for the Tri-City Storms of the USHL. Finnish forward Samu Salminen, 18, who has committed to DU for the start of the 2022–23 season, is Central Scouting’s 12th-ranked European forward.
Buium, Beherns and Mazur will watch and likely participate in a virtual draft from a hotel in Plymouth, Michigan, where they will skate at the US World Junior Showcase starting each Saturday. Salminen, who plays in the under 20 league in his homeland, will remain in Finland.
DU already has eight draft players on its roster and plans to have 11 players by Saturday after rounds 2-7.
“We are obviously excited about the group,” DU head coach David Carle said of his 2021-22 squad.