Nathan MacKinnon is riding high after winning the Memorial Cup, being named tournament MVP and overtaking Seth Jones as the No. 1-rated draft prospect in the ISS rankings.
Yet despite all that, MacKinnon remains grounded.
In fact, the Halifax Mooseheads standout told NHL.com that the Colorado Avalanche — holders of the first overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — would be “lucky” to acquire Jones’ services.
“All I know is that Seth is an unbelievable defenseman and Colorado would be lucky to have him,” MacKinnon explained. “Ultimately, it’s up to them and I expect they’ll make the right choice.”
Conventional wisdom suggests the Avs will select Jones at No. 1. He projects to be an elite blueliner at the professional level thanks to his skill set and size, and Colorado does need help on the blueline.
That said, there are plenty who suggest the No. 1 pick should be spent on MacKinnon — or his Halifax teammate, Jonathan Drouin.
ISS scouting director Dennis MacInnis said “to us, at this moment, the best player available is Nathan MacKinnon,” and proceeded to lump MacKinnon, Jones and Drouin in a group of “premier players in the future for the NHL.”
Drouin also edged out MacKinnon and Jones for the CHL’s Player of the Year award, adding another layer to the discussion.
And there’s another layer still — yesterday, new Avs head coach Patrick Roy said he’d like vice president of hockey ops Joe Sakic to explore trading the first overall pick.