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

Jun 19, 2013, 8:03 AM EDT

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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.

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