If Joe Sakic, the executive vice president for hockey operations of the Colorado Avalance, wasn’t clear last week when he said his team will likely pass on choosing defenseman Seth Jones – the top-ranked player in numerous mock drafts – with the first overall pick in Sunday’s 2013 NHL Draft and select a forward instead, Avalanche Coach Patrick Roy added an exclamation point Monday to Sakic’s remarks.
Roy, the Hall of Fame goaltender, told ESPN the Magazine that if the draft were held today, the Avalanche would take Halifax center Nathan MacKinnon over Jones, who began playing hockey as a kid growing up in Denver.
Jones’ father, former NBA player Popeye Jones, sought hockey advice from Sakic – then an Avalanche player – about what he should do for his hockey-playing son when Popeye was a member of the Denver Nuggets.
“It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon, Roy told the magazine. “MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow.”
TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie, in his pre-draft rankings Tuesday night, placed MacKinnon ahead of Jones and a field of talented forwards.
“There’s usually not that much movement at the top of the draft over the course of a season, a scout told TSN, according to McKenzie. “But what you have to understand is it’s always been really close between the top three or four guys. They all have their attributes and they’re all really different in terms of their skill sets. It’s a really good draft, for both high-end players and depth, too.”
So deep that Roy, like Sakic, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Colorado trading the No. 1 pick.
“We have received a lot of calls. Joe (Sakic) has received some calls. I have received some,” Roy told the magazine. “It’s important for us to see ‘What can we do to make our team better.’ We have to look at all options. We can’t just close our eyes and say, ‘Let’s just take a player.'”