Sakic, Roy leaning towards MacKinnon for top pick

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Last week, Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said his team would either deal the top pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft or select a forward.

Now he’s adding that if the draft were held today, he would specifically take Nathan MacKinnon, according to Xfinity Monday Live via the Denver Post.

“But we still have some time,” he cautioned. Among other things, Sakic is still open to trading the pick for the right price.

New Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy seems to be on the same page.

“It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon,” Roy told ESPN The Magazine. “MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow.”

Roy added that he thinks it would be “perfect” for MacKinnon to start as the team’s third line center in 2013-14 because it would take a bit of the pressure off of him.

Of course, the big question mark is if the Avalanche are bluffing. After all, Seth Jones has the potential to develop into a top-tier defenseman and those are hard to come by.

The Tampa Bay Lightning hold the third overall pick and aren’t sure what the Avalanche will end up doing.

“I think it’s smart of (Sakic) putting up a little controversy to get conversation going and people thinking,” Lightning head amateur scout Darryl Plandowski said. “I saw one comment where someone said, ‘That’s a big smokescreen,’ and that might be.”

The draft will be held on Sunday.