Either the Memorial Cup result swayed the Colorado Avalanche or it dawned on their new management that basing the first overall pick on the big clubs' immediate needs is just asking for an all-time backfire.
The Halifax Mooseheads' Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon dominated that tournament, while Finnish forward Alexander Barkov is a unique talent unto himself. All three forwards, by the way, are also quote-unquote significantly younger than 18-year-old Seth Jones. Drouin was born nearly six months later than the towering Portland Winterhawks defenceman while MacKinnon and Barkov are Jones' junior by about 11 months. And as they say, teenagers age.
From Adrian Dater:
Avalanche brass came to a conclusion: Jones won't be their pick. Instead, it could be any one of three forwards: Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Alexander Barkov.
"If we do pick first, we're leaning more toward one of those three forwards," Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic told The Denver Post.
The passing over of Jones no doubt will come as a shock to many Avs fans and NHL watchers. Jones, 18, is still ranked as the top-rated prospect available in next Sunday's draft on the lists of some scouting services. The Avs have seemingly glaring needs at defense and a surplus of centers — the position at which MacKinnon and Barkov play, while Drouin is a winger.
But Sakic reiterated the organization's belief that the three forwards represent the best players available in the draft.
"We feel those three forwards are just too good to pass up," Sakic said. (Denver Post)
("If we do pick first." You see what he did there.)
Even the Edmonton Oilers figured out not to worry about having a surfeit of young forward talent last season, when it had a choice between wing Nail Yakupov, defenceman Ryan Murray, and centre Alex Galchenyuk. Far be it to say this as the junior guy, but having too many high-end forwards seems likes the ultimate #FirstWorldProblem in a NHL which has taken an obsession with parity to Rozelleian levels.
Jones still seems like close to a sure shot to step directly into the NHL in October, whether it's with the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning. This is no slight on him, considering the ability of the trio Colorado has narrowed in on.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.