No bluff here.
The Colorado Avalanche stuck with its word and selected prized center Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick in 2013 NHL Entry Draft on Sunday, putting to rest any suspicion the Avs would take defenseman Seth Jones. Jones ended up sliding to Nashville as the fourth pick.
Selecting MacKinnon solidifies a young core of forwards for the Avalanche. MacKinnon joins MattDuchene, the third pick in the 2009 draft, and captain Gabriel Landeskog, the second pick in the 2011 draft, as lottery picks the Avalanche has stockpiled over the past few seasons with hopes of developing a dominant offense. The Avalanche front office were high on the 17 year old MacKinnon who has drawn comparisons to NHL all-stars Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Jonathan Toews.
The Avalanche finished the draft after selecting five defenseman and a goalie, paying much attention to the team’s defensive woes after selecting MacKinnon. None of the defenseman drafted look to have a shot at the roster next season.
After the draft, head coach Patrick Roy unveiled his top three forward lines for the upcoming season:
LW – Ryan O’Reilly C – Matt Duchene RW – P.A. Parenteau
LW – Gabriel Landeskog C – Paul Stastny RW – Alex Tanguay
LW – Jamie McGinn C – Nathan MacKinnon RW – Steve Downie
Noticeable from Roy’s plan is to move Ryan O’Reilly from center to left wing. Sceptics of the MacKinnon pick were focused on the fact that the Avalanche is stacked at the center position, and Roy seems to have found a preseason solution.
Also, this past week the Avalanche added former standout Alex Tanguay in a trade with the Calgary Flames. The Avalanche sent David Jones and defenseman Shane O’Brian in the deal and picked up Cory Sarich along with Tanguay. Tanguay spent his first six NHL seasons in Colorado and played a huge role in the Avs’ 2001 Stanley Cup championship run – scoring two goals in the 3-1 game seven Stanley Cup Finals victory against the New Jersey Devils. Tanguay, 33, will also add veteran leadership with the looming offseason retirement of longtime Avalanche Milan Hejduk.
The forwards look to be set, the Avalanche will now have to construct a viable defense.