Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Will the Colorado Avalanche (and Patrick Roy) draft Seth Jones or Nathan McKinnon 1st overall?

It's not clear-cut, but the consensus going into the Memorial Cup was that defenceman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks was the #1 ranked draft-available player for the coming June draft, with Halifax Moosehead centre Nathan McKinnon #2, and his linemate Jonathan Drouin the next highest rated player.

It's early yet, but Nathan McKinnon is going to muddy the waters even more if he keeps playing like he has so far.  In three games, he has four goals and four assists, most of these of the highlight variety, and has generally played spectacularly.

Conversely, Seth Jones, author of one goal in two games, hasn't been a difference maker.  Of course, during the World Juniors tournament in January, the roles were reversed, with Seth Jones playing a leadership role in the US squad's gold medal showing.

As far as Patrick Roy offering draft advice or being listened to by the management team of the Colorado Avalanche, holders of the first overall pick, I think he'll have some say in the matter.  Usually NHL head coaches have little to offer, since they don't know the players involved, being too busy with daily coaching duties to do much scouting.  In this case however, we have to remember that as the Remparts de Québec head coach, he faced Nathan McKinnon repeatedly over the last two seasons, and he has insights to offer.

Similarly, new Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly joined the team after four years coaching the Oregon Ducks, and in that capacity was very familiar with Pac-12 conference teams and their players.  It's interesting that the Eagles ended up choosing four players from that conference, out of eight picks, and signed two more Pac-12 players as free agents.  Of note, they took Zach Ertz of Stanford, who had some big games against the Ducks, and University of Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley when he fell to the fourth round.

It only makes sense as an organization to make use of the intel a coach fresh out of junior/college can provide.  As such, I would expect that Patrick Roy will be encouraged to weigh in on his evaluations regarding Nathan McKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, and probably some other LHJMQ players in the later rounds.

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