Amazing performance, but…
That was incredible to watch. From the puck drop in their first game of not just the Memorial Cup, but the Halifax Mooseheads entire run, Nathan MacKinnon took his game to another level. The kid who entered the season as a lot of scouts number 1 draft eligible player for the 2013 draft needed to have a performance like he did to have any shot at reclaiming his spot at the top of the rankings. But despite all he did, I still don’t see him going 1st.
You have to really ignore the Memorial Cup performance right now. Just sit back and take a deep breath. MacKinnon got the better of Jones in this tournament, but don’t forget that Jones got the better of MacKinnon at the WJC. After that tournament all everyone talked about was how great Jones was and how invisible MacKinnon was.
Clearly the Sportsnet pannel forgot that last night. I have a difficult time respecting what Nick Kypreos or Damian Cox have to say about kids in the WHL or QMJHL, especially when it comes to the draft. I don’t know first hand, but I have been told that both have a tough time picking up a phone to do research on kids in leagues outside of the OHL in the CHL. Last night they started bringing up Crosby and saying MacKinnon isn’t Sid but he isn’t very far off. Right. Why did you need the Memorial Cup to tell you that guys?! Meanwhile, just because Nate MacKinnon is that good why should that all of a sudden decrease Jones value?!
If Halifax wasn’t in the Memorial Cup and Seth Jones had the stage more to himself, Kypreos and Cox among others who are much too high about things right now would have walked away from this talking about how amazing Jones was. He is a 6’3, 208 pound, total package on the blueline. He is the best prospect on defense since Drew Doughty. He’s better than Hedman and Larsson were, and don’t forget Hedman was the “Swedish Chris Pronger”. As for Doughty, he just like MacKinnon would have gone 1st any other year but it just so happened that some kid named Stamkos stood in his way.
I will say this for MacKinnon: IF the Florida Panthers had won the draft lottery, then MacKinnon likely would have played his way into being the top pick. But it is a toss up between these 2 phenoms and the team who hold the 1st pick just will not pass on Jones.
Seth Jones grew up an Avs fan, started hockey in Denver, an American kid whose dad was a well known NBA player, and fills a HUGE need on the Avs blueline. MacKinnon might be a better prospect, but if he is it’s by the slimest of margines. So in this case all those factors will come into play. Extremely rare that the Avs could ever take a home town kid, and that is a team that has had a difficult time of late putting asses in the seats so the marketing aspect of things will be taken into consideration.
This isn’t to take away from what Nathan MacKinnon did. He was as dominant during this run as Taylor Hall in 2010, Milan Lucic in 2007 or Corey Perry in 2005. But I just don’t think it adds up to him going 1st overall. Of course certain things could happen, namely a team being so desperate to land MacKinnon they give the Avs a trade offer they can’t refuse (something the Flames should look into). But you simply never see teams trade down in the top 5 anymore, its just too big of a risk.
Make no mistake though, this will be heavily debated over the next month, a lot more than it has been since the WJC. You can’t go wrong with either kid. At this time I would like to take the time to point out how ridiculous it was for certain scouting services to put Drouin or Nichushkin ahead of MacKinnon this season. The kid has amazing talent with even better upside. Just too bad for him that there is another kid just like that who fits the bill better in Denver.
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