Seth Jones #3 of Team McClanahan skates in warmups prior to his game against Team Housley at the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the First Niagara Center on September 29, 2012 in Buffalo, New York.
(September 28, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Seth Jones will be the top pick? Not so fast…


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.”

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: