There has been plenty of speculation that the Colorado Avalanche will use the number one pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on defenseman Seth Jones. The chief scout of the Colorado Avalanche, Rick Pracey, thinks that might not be the case.
“The No. 1 spot, it’s open,” Pracey said, according to the Denver Post. “You know, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and Alexander Barkov, and you can go into other guys. There are others out there – Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm – that are very, very interesting players.
“It’s by far not a slam dunk. It’s not one player that’s running away with this thing.”
Some might argue that drafting a top defenseman like Jones would make more sense for the Avalanche than grabbing another skilled center like MacKinnon. However, it doesn’t sound like the Avalanche are going to look at their current roster when deciding who to take.
“We have to be looking at the best player available,” Pracey said. “When you’re holding the No. 1 pick, you still have to maintain that philosophy. We’re after not only the most talented kid right now, but long into the future. We hope this is a 10-15 year player for us.”
MacKinnon, Drouin, and Jones are all among the prospects competing in the 2013 Memorial Cup. After that, they’ll participate in the NHL Combine on May 27. The Avalanche also plan to visit their homes during the interviewing process.
“It’s kind of rare when all the top prospects are still playing like they are now, so it’s good for our staff to get to see them more,” Pracey said. “But we have to get to know them better as people. We have a tough decision ahead of us.”
‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)