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Roy has top three lines tentatively mapped out

Jul 1, 2013, 2:51 PM EDT

mackinnongetty Getty Images

One of the knocks against the Colorado drafting Nathan MacKinnon was that the Avalanche weren’t hurting for another center, but coach Patrick Roy thinks he has a solution for that potential logjam, based on a Denver Post report.

Roy plans to shift Ryan O’Reilly from center to the left wing so that he can play on a line with P.A. Parenteau and Matt Duchene. That will free up the third line center gig for Nathan MacKinnon. He’ll be flanked by Jamie McGinn and Steve Downie.

In the long run, MacKinnon is projected to develop into a top line forward, but Roy is looking to ease him into the NHL.

“It wouldn’t matter where I play,” MacKinnon said. “I just would do whatever it takes to help the team.”

There will also be a line of Paul Stastny, Gabriel Landeskog, and the recently acquired Alex Tanguay.

One of the big question mark is whether or not O’Reilly can make the adjustment to playing on the wing. We will probably see these lines change meaningfully once the season gets underway, but it does give us an early glimpse into how Roy sees everyone fitting together.

  1. mrpinkca - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    I don’t get why they feel the need to rush MacKinnon into the NHL. I have a really hard time seeing him making them a playoff team at 18 years old.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      he has much more to learn at the pro level than in the juniors. no need to delay his developmemt. now if he flops big time they can send him back to junior before he plays, I believe it’s 10 games.

  2. Stiller43 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    So…who’s playing D?

    • cupsaredone - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      not seth jones :-)

      • charleslouis99 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        You stole my comment, jackass! @cupsaredone

  3. esracerx46 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    What I don’t get is why you have the number one overall pick who is a point producer, play third line center. 1 why draft him if you don’t need a center. 2 why not send him back and wait for Stastny’s contract to expire.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      this is pretty ridiculous, unless he plans on forcing him to play the defensive matchups for his first year to “ease him in” since thats the traditional slot he will be in 3C. dont know why you say anything in freakin july anyway, roy is just showing off his new bike to all the other kids in the neighborhood it seems. who knows if he even plays this year, i’d rather see him play a year in the ahl than put him on the 3rd line to either get hammered by 3rd and 4th liners or get dominated in zone time by 1st and 2nd line oppositions. either way he’s getting screwed on the 3rd line, teams are gonna send their 3rd line to defensively matchup against him or they are going to throw their top lines out there because he’s a rookie with no defensive game.

      • tgia78 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        He can’t go to the AHL. They have to play him in the NHL or send him back to his minor team. He was only 2 weeks away from missing the deadline(age wise) for this draft. So the way the rules are set up…if he isn’t playing on the Avs, he will have to be on his minor team for 2 more seasons.

      • desertfan - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:50 PM


        Sort of correct but to help those who don’t totally understand all the terms.

        The word “minor team” is mis-leading to a lot of the audience.

        Minor team usually refers to Pro- AHL, ECHL etc.

        Really what he faces is returning to his Major Junior team in Halifax for the next two seasons if he is not kept up in Colorado.

    • jernster21 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Are you serious? Besides Calgary, how many teams out there lack so much center depth that they can pick #1 overall and put them as their #1 center right out of junior? The Avs don’t have problems at depth at center but it’s still a business and things change fast. Stastny is a UFA after this coming season, he may or may not resign even if the Avs still want him because he’s not going to make 6.6mm again and teams typically over pay for UFA’s…that’s up to him. No one knows how the Avs feel about O’Reilly after the hold out. He was ready to move on from the Avs – he may still feel that way and he could be gone at some point too. Last I checked, having so much talent down the middle is a good problem to have.

  4. charleslouis99 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Not Seth Jones.

  5. timmeh022 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Don’t put him on your 3rd line if you want him to bet a 1st line pivot down the road. Instead:

    Stastny – Duchene – Paranteau
    Landeskog – MacKinnon – Tanguay
    McGinn – O’Reilly – Downie

    • timmeh022 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      That’s if you want him playing in the NHL, otherwise, let him see 1st line ice time in the AHL.

    • jernster21 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      You don’t put a 6.5 million dollar contract on the 3rd line (O’Reilly). MacKinnon isn’t always going to be a 3rd line center, but it’s not a bad way to groom him into the pro’s surrounding him with two guys that will destroy anyone that touches him. There’s less pressure on MacKinnon if he starts on a 3rd line and he can just play his game….he’s not exactly being paired up with scrubs either, it could be a line that produces points.

      • timmeh022 - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        My bad, I mean to switch Stastny and O’Reilly before I posted it.

    • jl9830 - Jul 1, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      How about:


  6. tfaltin - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    I figured Duchene would be more adaptable to the wing given his offensive explosiveness, and O’Reilly would continue to be the two-way centerman. Either way, it’ll be an exciting display of offense in Colorado if they can get the puck out of their zone and keep it out of their net.

    • jernster21 - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      They’ve tried moving to him wing and he’s pretty much horrible. The guy is one of, if not the fastest guy on the team – he needs to be able to roam all over the ice and not just on one side of it. He actually became a really good two way center this season and his face offs were significantly improved. There’s a lot to look forward to with him down the middle.

  7. Brian - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Not like MacKinnon’s never played wing before. Would make more sense to start him in the NHL there. It’s an easier position to play, not as much defensive responsibility. You put the tough minutes line back together that worked so well for them two years ago with O’Reilly, Landeskog and Downie, put Duchene with Parenteau and Tanguay, and have MacKinnon on the right side of Stastny with McGinn on the left, and give MacKinnon a good amount of powerplay time. QED.

  8. frankiesweep - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    See how easy it is! He’s got it all figured out already!!!!

  9. frankiesweep - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    How many games before Roy is up on the bench slamming a stick on the glass and yelling at the other coach?

  10. desertfan - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM


  11. frankiesweep - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    It’s like when I sat in class and was bored, so I started writing out line combos….

    Only took a minute or two.

  12. chanceoffleury1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    It’ll all depend on if he shows he’s ready or not. I know whenever Staal got drafted to the Pens, the fans that were around then were a fanbase divided over whether he should have been playing on the Big Pens or the Baby Pens. But the problem was, he was too dang good his rookie year in the big league to justify sending him down! I don’t think the Avs are going into 2014 saying “PLAYOFFS OR BUST!” I think the development of chemistry and future success is what’s most important right now. As a lifelong Pens fan, I’ll assure you if they have to suck for 5 years to be fantastic for 15 years, that’s okay. And trust me, after they get good you’ll just be spoiled and they’ll start breaking your heart in the playoffs every year. It’s overrated, haha! (jk, it’s awesome. But it’s also taken years off my life)

    I really hope Colorado gets good. They always seemed like they have EVERY tool to be a fantastic US market. Denver is a beautiful city, too! I’d love to see them host a Winter Classic at Mile High Stadium within the next couple of years. I think if Colorado puts a growing team together it’d be great for their marketing. I’ve always liked them as one of my “western teams”.

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