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Sakic: If we keep top pick, we’ll likely draft a forward

Jun 19, 2013, 8:03 AM EDT

mackinnongetty Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are still open to trading the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but if they keep it, they probably won’t select highly regarded defenseman Seth Jones.

Unless what you’re about to read is all a big bluff.

“If we do pick first, we’re leaning more toward one of those three forwards,” Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic told The Denver Post.

Sakic is referring to centers Nathan MacKinnon and Alexander Barkov as well as winger Jonathan Drouin. Of those three, MacKinnon is typically the highest ranked prospect.

The Avalanche need a defenseman more than a forward (and especially a center), but Sakic intends to pick the player he regards as the best available regardless of the team’s short-term needs.

“We feel those three forwards are just too good to pass up,” Sakic said.

As for their defense, the Avalanche might attempt to bolster it through the trade or free agent markets. They are in a healthy position from a cap perspective, which could put them at an advantage this summer as other teams attempt to get under the ceiling.

  1. jpelle82 - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    it looks like they’re keeping the pick, i dont see anyone offering anything better than what calgary did. mckinnon can go to the western conference, fine with me.

  2. jb8588 - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Well, this just made the draft leadup A LOT more interesting as a Bolts fan!

    • tcclark - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      As a Bolts fan you should be hoping that Drouin falls to you regardless of who goes first. That kid would be amazing next to Stamkos.

      • jb8588 - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        I agree. All along I have been hoping Drouin will be our guy, but at the same time we need D in the worst way and have tremedous depth at the forward position from the AHL squad that could help us next season.

      • mathieug79 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tampa pick Barkov, BIG scoring power forwards are almost the hardest position to get via free agency/trade. Barkov proved as a 16 year old that he can play with men. I still think Drouin would be the perfect fit next to stamkos, but with the overflow of NHL-ready wingers they have in Syracuse it would be a no brainer to pick a big centremen. If i’m Steve Yzerman I package a couple of prospects with Ryan Malone for defensive Dmen Hjarlmarsson or Zbynek Michalek. Stamkos can play the wing, and let’s face it Lecavalier has 1 year to prove that he can elevate his game and be the player he used to be or he will be bought out.

      • 19to77 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        I’d go with Barkov too, if I were Yzerman. They need a Lecavalier replacement more than they need a winger. Still, if Jones is available at third overall… I’d probably go for it.

      • tcclark - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        I worry about European players. Some of them don’t transition to the North American game. They have a much larger bust potential. I don’t think that will happen with Barkov. I’m very impressed with him as a player, but I think you have to take the best player available and that is Jonathan Drouin. I see so much of Marty St. Louis in him from the vision, the playmaking ability, the IQ, and the work ethic. Drafting him would give you a tandem of Stamkos and Drouin that could be the best in the league. He would learn so much from Marty and have the opportunity to play with an amazing goal scorer. Stamkos and barkov would be great to have down the middle, but Stamkos and Drouin could wreak havoc on opposing teams.

    • soj83 - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      I think Buffalo is who they are looking at, 2 first round picks and a roster player or prospects. I think the Avs want someone they can put into the lineup right now

      • mathieug79 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        The avs are also looking for a Goalie, Ryan Miller is available. a swap of Miller and Statsny could work.

      • jernster21 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        What source do you have that has said the Avs are looking for a goalie? I haven’t seen anything about that. The Avs need defense, not goalies.

      • buddysguys - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        isn’t a goalie part of your defense?

      • billyhauntswizards - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Varlamov is a great goalie……..they need competent defensemen.

  3. travishenryskid - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    If you assume that Jones is a lock for the top three, then you would have to assume Colorado might be willing to trade back to 4 based on these comments. Nashville is going to be taking a lot of calls in the next few days.

  4. valarmorghuliss - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Somehow “told yas so” don’t quite say it

  5. jdd428 - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I think the Avs will regret passing on Jones.

  6. 4thquartermagic - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    The knock on Seth is that he’s not physical enough but with the way the NHL game is going, in 5 years he won’t need to be.

    The rules will benefit technical defenseman and Jones will be one of the best because he is so skilled.

    Yes it may take 3-5 years for him to develop. But whichever team is patient will have one of the premier D-men in the league.

    Take Seth Avs.
    Your nowhere close to being a contender right now.
    No need to be in hurry to put Mackinnon out there.

  7. tdrusher225 - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    They’ve got to be bluffing, maybe to get the teams with the 2nd and 3rd overall picks nervous, because this is ridiculous. They do not need more forwards. I don’t care how good they are. Jones is a potential stud, but even if they don’t feel like doing that there are so many options through trade that they can explore. Don’t pull an Edmonton Oilers and take another forward you don’t need.

  8. hazlydose - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    You have Parenteau, O’ Reilly, Landeskog, and Duchene. Why do you need another young forward when you have a bunch? How do you pass up on Seth Jones when your #1 “franchise” defenseman is Erik Johnson?

    • jpelle82 - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      stasny too

  9. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    As I and many others here wrote, selecting McKinnon is a no brainer unless they can manufacture a Lindros like trade. You don’t pass on a caliber franchise player like McKinnon. No ifs, ands or bugs. Another great hockey taken from Canada, will go first overall.

    Fact: A total of 49 different players have been selected first. Of those, 38 have been Canadian. Six Americans, three Russians, two Czechs and one Swedish player have also been taken first.

    • ray2013 - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      Maybe I’m biased but a 6’4, 206 lb defenceman (at age 18) versus a 5’11, 180 center (at age 18) should be weighed in favor of Jones unless MacKinnon is a once-in-a-generation center.

      Is he?

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 19, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        You can’t go by weight alone. Right? McKinnon’s performance in the final game of the Memorial Cup sealed the deal. He brought his A game and led his team to the championship. I’m not questioning Jones’ ability to become a #1 D man, however, it does take a little longer for D’s to develop. Jones showed start quality abilities during that memorial cup final, but not enough to take the #1 spot over McK.

      • ray2013 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        I didn’t get a chance to reply to this right away.

        It’s pretty simple in my mind. MacKinnon may be another Tavares (who I’ve seen him compared to) with 40 goals and 50 assists (projected) a season. He’d definitely be an elite center, even if he is a bit on the small side. He will be an excellent center, I don’t doubt it.

        But Jones is rated as the best defensive prospect to come down the pipes since Chris Pronger. A big, smooth skating defenseman with the ability to be your #1 d-man for the next 15 years.

        If your comparable is a future Hall-of-Famer, which I think most everyone would agree that Pronger is, then I think you draft him first.

  10. pmonte3122 - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    I’m hoping as a sabre fan we do give either miller or Vanek away with the two first round picks for the first pick, maybe throw in the two seconds as well to sweeten the deal. We don’t need a ton of prospects, just a dynamic one to build around

  11. numberonesaintsfan - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    the Av’s are just trying to bait a team picking in the top 4.They might be able to pick up extra picks to drop down a spot or two,and still might be able to get the player that they wanted all along.

  12. garrison1981 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    He bluffing n wants Jones! He just wants #2 to get worried n trade up so he gets Jones and…?

  13. vanfoodman - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    If I’m Duchene, Landeskog or O’Reilly I want out and quick. This franchise is being run by clowns and amateurs. NHL careers are short and this mess is only going to get worse. I wouldn’t be willing to wait until Sakic and Roy are fired before asking for a trade. Sad to see this once great franchise is such disarray.

    • vanfoodman - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      Just so we’re clear, I think this is obvious posturing and that makes the team look ridiculous because no one takes them seriously.

      • nhl2014 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Disagree. It looks like they’re trying to trade down, and what’s one way to help facilitate that? Threaten to pick the forward that Florida or Tampa wants.

        And please, how do you know that this is “obvious posturing”? Who’s to say that the Avs don’t take one of the forwards? Roy may be looking to turn the corner on the rebuild and start making a push for the playoffs. Mac or Drouin could make an immediate impact, while Jones would take some years to develop.

        Jones may still be the more likely pick, but there’s no harm in trying to trade down if he’ll still be available at #2 or #3

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