The 1st Pick
Posted 10:19 PM ET | Comments 2
The Avalanche, on Tuesday, confirmed the hiring of Assistant Coach André Tourigny, Video Coach Mario Duhamel, part-time Goalie coach François Allaire, and part-time Defensive Coach Adam Foote, with Assistant Coach Tim Army being the sole survivor of last year’s bench bosses.
Colorado also announced the promotion of Craig Billington to Assistant General Manager, likely meaning he is preparing to take over Greg Sherman’s role once Sakic deems him ready.
Both Sakic and Roy thirdly mentioned that if the draft we’re held that day, that Nathan MacKinnon would be their number one choice. Roy went further and added that he would also likely start the year with the team as the 3rd line center, a spot previously occupied by Ryan O’Reilly, who could possibly be shifted to the wing. A more like candidate in my opinion would be Matt Duchene, who has previously played the position, where he scored his only career hat trick.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post quickly posted a rumor, which would send Paul Stastny to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for their Captain, Dion Phaneuf. With a cap hit of 6.6 and 6.5 respectively, no one can argue that the one for one trade is a match made in heaven, cap calculations wise. The Leafs already do not have the strongest blue line and are in need of an upgrade at that position almost to the same level as the Avs. Phaneuf being their vocal leader as well as their most utilized defenseman would hurt the team far too much for a chance at Stastny’s long awaited resurrection.
Should the team remain the same however, here are what the possible forward lines could look like, with the current roster and the addition of Mackinnon.
Duchene – Stastny – Parenteau
Landeskog – O’Reilly – Downie
McLeod – MacKinnon – Jones
Bordeleau – Mitchell – Palushaj (RFA)
Bordeleau’s addition this past season opened an opportunity for McLeod to play more minutes and focus less on fighting, a chance that he took with stride. Three seasons away from scoring 15 goals, McLeod showed some flashes of a feisty 3rd line Left Wing who can also score some goals, finding the end of the net eight times this past half-season. He and Jones could possibly be great linemates to protect and help MacKinnon on his path to become an NHL great.
MacKinnon would also be the team’s only right handed Center, which the team has been lacking for a few seasons. Once MacKinnon develops his NHL face-off skills, rookies usually having around a 45% success rate at the dot, the right-handedness would greatly help in defensive zone face-offs, as most coach would send a Center with the handedness to throw the puck in the corner, instead of in front of the net if possible. MacKinnon also has a tendency to raise his level when needed, easily proven by him leading his QMJHL team from a 3-0 series deficit, against Roy’ Remparts, to win the series and then the President’s Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the Q’s playoff champions. MacKinnon once again lead his team in the memorial cup, recording two hat tricks against top rated prospect Seth Jones, who most believed would be the Avalanche choice all along.
The Avs definitely need more help at the blue line, making Jones the more obvious choice however, he would not make a real impact for possibly another 4 years, which is far from acceptable in Roy’s mind. Roy has a win now attitude, and wants to reach the playoffs this season and not at some point in the near future. Drafting MacKinnon gives the team a young Center, with the potential to easily eclipse Stastny and gives them an excellent piece to possibly trade for a defenseman who could help the team now.