Colorado Avalanche GM Patrick Roy made a splash this off-season when, shortly after being announced into his new role, he declared that the first overall selection could be up for grabs should the right offer come along.
Even then, most expected Roy and the Avalanche to select consensus top prospect, defenseman Seth Jones, with the first pick in the draft until Roy and Executive VP Joe Sakic made it clear that they were leaning towards “one of the three forwards” at the top of most draft charts.
Today, according to Craig Custance of ESPN, Roy indicated that the first pick in the draft will be Nathan MacKinnon should the Avalanche keep the selection instead of trading it.
“It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon,” Roy told ESPN The Magazine. “MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow.”
Roy mentioned that the Avalanche do have a precise order in terms of the forward prospects; at least as far as the top three — MacKinnon first, Halifax Mooseheads teammate Jonathan Drouin second, and Aleksander Barkov third.
Roy also expressed an interest in starting MacKinnon on the third line.
“It would be great for MacKinnon to start there. Less pressure,” Roy said. “It’s the perfect fit for him.”
He also didn’t rule out trading the top pick in the draft and it’s safe to bet that the Avs have received a ton of interest since word came out that the pick could be available.
The Avalanche will no doubt be looking for a King’s Ransom for the top pick — a swap of first round picks (or two for some teams), a top-flight prospect, and/or a roster player could conceivably come back in return.
With just six days left until the NHL Draft, it’ll be interesting to see what Roy and Sakic do with the top pick and, should they stay pat, will they actually pick MacKinnon or swerve us once again?