The Colorado Avalanche may own the No.1 pick in the NHL Draft but it is no guarantee that they will use it on June 30 to select top-rated prospect Seth Jones.
The 18-year-old defenseman is the No.1 draft-eligible prospect according to NHL Central Scouting and Jones was recently named the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospect of the Year for 2012-13.
Despite Jones’ accolades and Colorado’s need to bolster its blue line, The Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Avalanche are instead focusing on forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Alexander Barkov.
“If we do pick first, we’re leaning towards one of those three forwards,” said Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic. “We feel those three forwards are just too good to pass up.”
MacKinnon and Drouin were teammates with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season and beat Jones’ Portland Winterhawks in the CHL’s Memorial Cup last month.
MacKinnon was No.2 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, but the 17-year-old has since won a CHL championship and been named Memorial Cup MVP. The 5-foot-11 center had a hat-trick and two assists in Halifax’s 6-4 win against Portland in the national championship.
Drouin, No.3 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, was named the CHL’s Player of the Year and finished second in QMJHL scoring with 105 points in 49 games. Drouin then led the QMJHL in playoff scoring with 35 points in 17 games.