The first round of the NHL draft used to be a long exercise in tedium for the Avalanche. While the lesser lights of the league would excitedly make their way to the stage to proudly announce their selections, the final four-finishing Avs would have to sit back and wait a few hours before they could finish out the first round.

It will be more like the old days again Friday night in Philadelphia. Winning 52 games and a division title means the Avs won't pick until the No. 23 selection in the 2014 draft at the Wells Fargo Center.

So, it figures to be another of those "We'll just take the best player available" kind of nights for the Avs, right?

"Not necessarily," Avalanche chief scout Rick Pracey said Thursday from Philadelphia. "We are in a position to just want the best player available, but we're in more of a team-building and planning stages mode now. We're looking at needs and our depth chart throughout the organization, and want to look at players who are attribute-specific."

The Avs have picked in the top three in three of the past five NHL drafts, getting Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon in the process. The last time the Avs picked beyond the 20th selection, while owning a first-round choice, came in 2004 when they chose Wojtek Wolski at No. 21.

Wolski turned out to be a pretty good pick at 21st overall, and Pracey is hoping to nab a dark horse at No. 23.

"We've identified a group of five players. We're hoping the guy we have at around the No. 15 spot is still available to us at 23," Pracey said. "I think this draft as a whole is an interesting group. We have it grouped as around seven to 10 elite kids, then it cracks wide open. We don't control the board like we did last year, which makes it really important to get to know the whole board."

What type of player will the Avs be looking for? Think big.

Coach Patrick Roy, in a news conference a couple of weeks ago at the Pepsi Center, said the Avalanche wants more size in all skater positions.