The Colorado Avalanche suffered a shocking first-round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year. They fell at the hands of the Seattle Kraken in seven games. Colorado saw some roster turnover in NHL Free Agency soon after. But they hoped to get back toward legitimate Stanley Cup contention in 2023-24.

It's tough to gauge whether they achieved that goal. Obviously, they didn't win the Stanley Cup in 2024. But whether they were a true threat to win the Cup is another matter. Colorado finished third in the Central Division and defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. They did fall to the Dallas Stars in round two, but one may wonder how Colorado would have fared in the West Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.

All of that is speculation, though. The Avalanche lost, and now their attention turns to the offseason. The first major event on the offseason schedule is the 2024 NHL Draft on June 28. Colorado owns the 24th overall selection in the first round this year.

The NHL Draft always gets a little crazy toward the end of the first round. As a result, it can be tough to say who Colorado can or will target. However, we can point out a few prospects they can afford to pass on. With this in mind, here are two prospects the Avalanche can avoid in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Avalanche can pass on Henry Mews

A view of the Colorado Avalanche logo during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

One area within Colorado's organization that could use depth is the right side of the blueline. Right-shot defensemen are extremely coveted within the NHL, but the Avalanche have a scarcity. In fact, they have no right-shot rearguards within their top-15 prospects, according to The Athletic.

As a result, Henry Mews would be a fit. He is a right-shot defenseman with some potential to play a top-four role. He is a creative playmaker with the puck who possesses excellent poise and vision on the ice. However, he had a rather underwhelming draft-eligible season. Mews put up points for the Ottawa 67s but he struggled defensively this season.

The Avalanche should have better options with the 24th pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Mews could be an option later in the draft, but in any event, Colorado can steer clear. They can target other players to fill the void on the right side of their blueline.

Dominik Badinka can fall past the Avalanche

Dominik Badinka is another player who would make some sense for Colorado. He is a right-shot defenseman who has seen his stock rise a bit since the beginning of the season. ClutchPoints has Badinka going to the Anaheim Ducks with the 31st pick in its latest NHL Mock Draft.

The Czechian defender played in the Swedish league system this year. He earned a role in the SHL after beginning in Sweden's junior level. And he has a lot of tools going in his favor. His combination of size, ability, and mobility certainly gives teams confidence he can succeed in the NHL.

However, Badinka's potential is up for debate. He could certainly find himself playing a top-four role in the league. But that is likely the height of his projection if he reaches it in the first place. The Avalanche can certainly do worse than a bottom-four defenseman in the 2024 NHL Draft. At 24, however, Colorado should have better options to choose from with more upside.