It was bold enough last week when word crept out by way of Adrian Dater that the Colorado Avalanche would not be selecting Seth Jones as the #1 overall pick in Sunday's NHL entry draft. Speculation rose that this was just a ruse by Joe Sakic and the Avalanche for one reason or another.
Monday evening, the intentions of the Colorado Avalanche were further made public, with new head coach Patrick Roy not just tipping the hand of the Avs with their intention to go with a forward, but taking away all need to speculate just what who the Avs intend to select and what their intentions are with the young player.
Roy, speaking to ESPN the Magazine, laid it all out:
"It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon," Roy told ESPN The Magazine. "MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow."
Roy didn't rule out trading the pick and said there's been plenty of interest from other teams since word spread that Colorado was open to a deal. Roy has a say in personnel with the Avalanche as the coach and vice president of hockey operations.
"We have received a lot of calls. [Avalanche executive] Joe [Sakic] has received some. I have received some," Roy said. "It's important for us to see, what can we do to make our team better? We have to look at all options. We can't just close our eyes and say, 'Let's just take a player.' "
Roy said after MacKinnon, the organization likes Jonathan Drouin and then Alexander Barkov -- in that order. But right now, drafting MacKinnon and having him start the season as the Avalanche's third-line center is his preference.
What is the relevance of this? It may take MacKinnon off the board but it also puts the Florida Panthers on the clock. Not literally, but figuratively. If Mac's selection is absolute, then the biggest enigma left is the intentions of the Florida Panthers... ...And of course, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning will not tip their hand, and mock drafts are moot gauging what the Bolts will do. Damian Cristodero at the Tampa Bay Times wrote over the weekend of the growing chance that Seth Jones drops to 3rd in the draft. We still don't know if the Panthers will pass up on the marketing opportunities in South Florida with Jay-Z backed Jones, or the more immediate-needs filling selection of an offensive player such as Jonathan Drouin, Valeri Nichushkin or Alexander Barkov.