Avalanche drafts MacKinnon No. 1; Jones drops to No. 4

It turns out that Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche executive vice-president of hockey operations, wasn’t bluffing when he told Denver’s CBS affiliate on June 24 that if the NHL draft was held that day, the team would select Halifax Mooseheads centre Nathan MacKinnon.

The Avalanche did indeed take MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick at Sunday’s draft in New Jersey, passing on Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones, the No. 1 ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. MacKinnon was ranked No 2.

With the No. 25 pick, the Canadiens definitely got bigger, selecting 6-foot-5, 228-pound right-winger Michael McCarron of the U.S. Under-18 team. McCarron posted 16-21-37 totals in 59 games with the U.S. national team development program last season and led the team with 182 penalty minutes. He was part of the U.S. team that won a silver medal at this year’s U-18 world championship and is expected to join the OHL’s London Knights next season.

The Vancouver Canucks made the biggest news in the first round, trading goaltender Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the No. 9 overall pick. The Canucks used the pick to select London Knights centre Bo Horvat, ranked No. 15 by Central Scouting among North American skaters. 

On June 24, Sakic said of MacKinnon: “I think if we had to do it today, right now, he would probably be the guy, yes. But we still have some time.”

Time didn’t change Sakic’s mind and the Avalanche made it official just after 3 p.m. Sunday as the draft kicked off.

New Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told ESPN.com on June 24: “It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon. MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow.”

Wrote MacKinnon on NHL.com the day before the draft: “I’m hoping to sleep in late (on Sunday) so I don’t have to think about (the draft) all day. I’m still rooming with Seth Jones;  there’s no competitive nature between us. We’ve talked about the top pick, but no matter where we go, it’s going to be an unbelievable experience. Both of us want to begin our careers and it doesn’t matter where that is.”

For MacKinnon, it will be Colorado.

The Florida Panthers, with the No. 2 pick, took Finnish centre Aleksander Barkov, passing on Jones. Barkov was the No. 1 ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting.

With the No. 3 pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning also took a pass on Jones, instead selecting Jonathan Drouin, MacKinnon’s teammate with the Mooseheads. Drouin was ranked No. 3 by Central Scouting.

With the No. 4 pick, the Nashville Predators finally took Jones.

“It’s amazing how things have worked out in my hockey career,” MacKinnon told TSN. “It’s so exciting and hopefully it’s just getting started. This is unbelievable, to be a part of the Colorado Avalanche. I can’t wait to get to training camp.

“It’s always been my dream to go No. 1 – I’d be lying if I told you anything different. Obviously going up against a guy like Seth Jones is very motivating for sure, but my main goal is to win. This is crazy right now. This is unbelievable.”

After dropping to No. 4, Jones told TSN: “First of all, I’m going to worry about myself and trying to get better and try to make Nashville next year and then second of all, I’m going to try to make – in a good way, though – those teams regret not taking me. I think that’s my job and I’m going to do whatever I can to help Nashville win.”

With the No. 5 pick, the Carolina Hurricanes took Swedish centre Elias Lindholm, the No. 3 ranked European skater by Central Scouting.

With the No. 6 pick, the Calgary Flames took Ottawa 67s centre Sean Monahan, the No. 5 ranked North American skater by Central Scouting.

The Edmonton Oilers, at No. 7, took Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse, ranked No. 4 by Central Scouting.

Other first-round picks:

No. 8 – Buffalo Sabres: Finnish defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen.

No. 9 – The New Jersey Devils traded the pick to Vancouver in exchange for goalie Cory Schneider and the Canucks selected London Knights centre Bo Horvat

No. 10 – Dallas Stars: Russian right-winger Valeri Nichushkin.

No. 11 – Philadelphia Flyers: Rimouski Oceanic defenceman Samuel Morin.

No. 12 – Phoenix Coyotes: London Knights centre Max Domi, the son of former NHLer Tie Domi.

No. 13 – Winnipeg Jets: Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Joshua Morrissey.

No. 14 – Columbus Blue Jackets: Swedish centre Alexander Wennberg.

No. 15 – New York Islanders: Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryan Pulock.

No. 16 – Buffalo Sabres: London Knights defenceman Nikita Zadorov.

No. 17 – Ottawa Senators: Edmonton Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar.

No. 18 – The Detroit Red Wings traded the pick to San Jose in exchange for picks No. 20 and 58, and the Sharks selected Everett Silvertips defenceman Mirco Mueller.

 No. 19 – Columbus Blue Jackets: Windsor Spitfires left-winger Kerby Rychel.

No. 20 – Detroit Red Wings: Val d’Or Foreurs right-winger Anthony Mantha, the grandson of Andre Pronovost, who won four Stanley Cups with the Canadiens.

No. 21 – Toronto Maple Leafs: Rimouski Oceanic forward Frederik Gauthier.

No. 22 – Calgary Flames: Gatineau Olympiques left-winger Emile Poirier.

No. 23 – Washington Capitals: Swedish left-winger Andre Burakovsky.

No. 24 – Vancouver Canucks: Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk.

No. 25 – Canadiens: 6-foot-5, 228-pound right-winger Michael McCarron of the U.S. Under-18 team.

No. 26 – Anaheim Ducks: Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Shea Theodore.

No. 27 – Columbus Blue Jackets: Russian centre Marko Dano.

No. 28 – Calgary Flames: Regina Pats left-winger Morgan Klimchuk.

No. 29 – Dallas Stars: Guelph Storm centre Jason Dickinson.

No. 30 – Chicago Blackhawks: Plymouth Whalers right-winger Ryan Hartman.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Canucks stun draft by trading goalie Schneider to Devils, montrealgazette.com/nhldraft

More draft coverage at montrealgazette.com/nhldraft

Order of selection for draft, NHL.com

No. 1 picks of the NHL draft, SI.com

Hidden NHL draft gems, SI.com

945 Comments

  1. habspattinos says:

    Tyyasdffggh

    01234567890!))$&@”@”"”°”

  2. parkex says:

    TSN’s Button just gave an A for Habs picks

  3. Blondie says:

    Reway 5’10″, maybe MB’s just trying to play with your mind Uce. :)

  4. habsfaninboston says:

    Another smurf? MB has some splainin’ to do.

  5. Habfan17 says:

    Jordan Subban to Vancouver

    Habfan17

  6. neumann103 says:

    Canucks take Jordan Subban, right before MTL’s pick

    “Et le but!”

  7. Habfan17 says:

    Mackenzie says that word is Fucalle could be a franchise goalie, Price better pick it up a notch or two. It seems Crisp is not ranked, not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Was surpised the Habs didn’t get hayden. They seem to be drafting more right wingers, I thought they would get at least two defencemen with size., mind you with three more picks, they might. With the exception of Fucale, all the players are forwards, maybe MB is working on a trade or UFA signings.

    Habfan17

  8. Chris says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    The Kings just drafted 6’6″, 224 pound Justin Auger. He’s got surprisingly good hands and dangles. But he simply can’t skate. He’s an absolutely awful skater.

    This one is a LONG term project pick because Auger dropped right out of the CSS rankings based on his lack of skating ability.

    Seeing Tyler Bertuzzi go in the second round was also a huge shocker to me.

  9. parkex says:

    An interesting fact about Andrighetto is that he turned down a six-digit contract offer from a professional team in Switzerland. Instead, he decided to play in the QMJHL to get more visibility and learn all aspects of North American hockey.

    After being drafted 11th overall in the first round of the 2011 QMJHL draft, the speedy winger made his way to Rouyn-Noranda to make his dream to play in the NHL possible. During his rookie campaign, he scored 36 goals and added 38 assists for a respectable 74 points in 62 contests. However, his defensive game needed much polishing as shown by his dismal -23 plus/minus differential.

  10. HardHabits says:

    UCe. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be OK.

  11. frontenac1 says:

    Hawks sign Bickel to a 4yr deal.

    • HardHabits says:

      Nice find. I’ve been reading about him. The Habs went for size and grit and character or speed and skill and character.

      I like the dynamic they are building. Identity.

    • Habfan17 says:

      Thanks, that is great, he seems pretty good. I don’t think Connor Crisp was ranked for the draft, unless I missed him.

      Habfan17

  12. Un Canadien errant says:

    Sven Andrighetto, an overaged 5’9″ forward at #86. I’m going to barf.

    This was supposed to be an opportunity to correct the size imbalance in our system, with an injection of bigger players to surround those already on the farm. We’re failing miserably at that.

    Mason Geertsen is still on the board, and we let him go for this guy.

    This isn’t fun any more.

    • johnnylarue says:

      Whoa now–what ‘Ghetto lacks in size, he more than makes up for in street smarts.

    • SlimDiggity says:

      Wait a second… we’ve picked three beasts in McCarron, De La Rose and Crisp. Lehkonen was clearly the BPA when we picked him. Andrighetto wasn’t going to last much longer. If and when these guys make it to the NHL Gallagher will likely be our only smallish player left.

      I actually like this draft. We didn’t pick my favorite players at each spot but I think we got good value at most of our picks and we went for the homerun in McCarron. At pick #25, why not shoot for the stars?

    • Habfan17 says:

      I am surprised you don’t like this pick. The Habs did draft to correct size and still have 3 more picks. De La Rose was the smallest at 6’2″
      The link that johnnylarue posted above says this guy has blazing speed, great hockey sense, will drop them, goes to the dirty areas, is hard to knock off the puck and has a quick accurate wrister to go with his great slapper. What is not to like. You have been advocating that size is not everything, compete and skill is more important. I will admit, I knew nothing about this guy until I went to the link, but he seems pretty good. He is listed at 5″10, not that an inch makes a big difference…lol

      Habfan17

  13. parkex says:

    In Round 3, the Canadiens used the 71st-overall pick to nab 6-foot-4 Erie Otters center Connor Crisp. In 63 games in 2012-13, the Alliston, ON native racked up 22 goals, 36 points and 139 penalty minutes.

  14. Un Canadien errant says:

    Not to beat this dead horse, but I really believe that when the Canadiens rush to pick up a player who’s fallen to them, like Sebastian Collberg or Charles Hudon or now Arturri Lehkonen, it’s not so much that the other teams failed to discern their great talent or puck skills, but rather a case of other teams making the cynical, counter-Gainey decision to sacrifice skill in favour of outright size. Looking at the Blues or Kings or Sharks or the Bruins, they’re basically daring us to pick those players.

    “We’ll see you in the playoffs,” they’re thinking as they rub their hands with glee.

    • Blondie says:

      We picked a beast too. It’s okay to have one or two speedy small guys that can score, just don’t put them all on the same line.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        William Carrier and Marc-Olivier Roy were speedy guys who could score, but weren’t that small.

        • johnnylarue says:

          While I am not knowledgeable enough to dispense blame in a just manner, I do share in your regret that Timmins and Bergevin made no attempt to prioritize homegrown talent in this draft–especially when they actually had a chance to in deeper rounds.

          The “best player available” policy is hard to contest, but it’s unfortunately not doing much for the Franco quotient of the team. Which I find regrettable, at least from a personal standpoint.

  15. habsfaninboston says:

    Conner Crisp. Any word on him?

    Edit: good size. 6′-3, 225 lb.

  16. habsfaninboston says:

    That Kanzig kid is a monster. 6′-7, 241 lb.

  17. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …just got to Our third pick in the second, the Finn

    …which I guess locks JJ as a permanent Habs’ Fan :)

    …with all due respect to one of My favourite fellow Habs’ Fans, I am depressed We have only Fucale from the Q :(

    …I’m on My ninth Colt 45

  18. zip by says:

    it’s interesting – I have a lot of respect for Commandant’s view but don’t you think it ironic that the habs choose at 25 the guy he had at 60 while at 55 they take the guy he had at 30 – meanwhile the peeps here are blasting the latter…….. just goes to show that nobody knows in advance and we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride

  19. Un Canadien errant says:

    In this round, I’d like one of Mason Geertsen and Jonathan-Ismaël Diaby.

  20. HardHabits says:

    I went to the gym after the McCarron pick. Came back just before the Lehkonen one. You guys should try exercise to deal with stress. Then again I am all hopped up on endorphins.

  21. Un Canadien errant says:

    Talent is being proven to be unimportant, a marginal consideration by the current state of the NHL with its laissez-faire refereeing. Talent is wiped out by size. Mr. Lehkonen will have to work hard to prove me wrong, but in this day and age, I think it’s a wasted pick.

  22. johnnylarue says:

    So we end up with a Frenchie with an Italian name, a Swede with a French name, an enormous American nightmare-restaurant-bill-in-the-making, and Timo’s nephew.

    Something for everyone!

  23. Un Canadien errant says:

    And William Carrier, a bigger homeboy, is snapped up the very next pick by St. Louis. As a very uninformed fan, I’m disappointed we didn’t take him instead of the Finnish pipsqueak we got.

    Edit: Actually, Marc-Olivier Roy went to Edmonton before the Blues picked Mr. Carrier. My point remains.

  24. habsfaninboston says:

    A smurf? What happened to drafting for size? LOL.

    • johnnylarue says:

      Just. Couldn’t. Resist.

    • SlimDiggity says:

      Lehkonen is not that small. Came in at 5’11.5″ at the combine I believe. Definitely needs to put on some weight though.

      Scored at a high clip playing against men in Finland… very impressive.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Look, I’d never heard of the kid before, so my opinion is worth a hill of beans, but a 163 pound shifty winger is not something we needed to add to the mix. What we needed to complement our assets in the farm system was size and toughness.

  25. HardHabits says:

    MOAR FASTER!!!!

    A small winger with good scoring-instincts, Lehkonen is very good with the puck and has great stickhandling. He is highly competitive and while often physically at a disandvantage, Lehkonen is not afraid to enter battles in corners. He doesn’t have a great top-gear but is a smooth skater with good technique. He must gain strength and add power to his skating and once his physique is at an acceptabale level, Lehkonen can be a major offensive threat and utilize his excellent hockey sense even better. (Matias Strozyk, 2011)

    source – http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=43584

    • johnnylarue says:

      Not a spectacular draft.

      I’ll make do with Fucale as a consolation prize–if for nothing else than the enduring comedic potential of his last name.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Not happy. He plays the role already filled by Sebastian Collberg and Charles Hudon.

      • The Jackal says:

        Spectacular? It’s hard to top getting Galchenyuk and the other guys we got last year, but I am very pleased with our picks thus far. Lehkonen was a bit out of the blue but he seems to be a very good and skilled guy, who playing with our bigger guys can do quite well. And McCaron? Perhaps he is a project, but like HH said, we drafted our Bickell. And Fucale? The future in nets looks very good, and should Price falter, we may just have a very good option moving forward.

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

        • HardHabits says:

          Jacob de la Rose

          A true team player and leader. De la Rose always gives 100% and leads his team with his intensity and work ethic. Has an edge to his game and does not shy away from the rough stuff. Has good timing in his hits. Sound defensively. Not likely to become a high scoring player, as he is not a natural scorer, but his strong two-way and forechecking ability along with his attitude makes him a very valuable part of any team. (EP, 2013)

          source – http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=28436

    • Rugger says:

      Did you notice his Uncle is Timo?

  26. The Jackal says:

    So, it seems commandant has left us. Is there anyone who knows more than fucale about who else is left and which one may be a good pick for us?

    If so, enlighten us!

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  27. Un Canadien errant says:

    Canadiens combine star Justin Bailey gone to Buffalo. We still have William Carrier and Jonathan Diaby on the board.


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