The Colorado Avalanche made the 17-year-old Nathan MacKinnon the first pick of the draft on Sunday at the Prudential Center. MacKinnon spoke to the media Sunday about the number one pick and the Avalanche.
Q. Thoughts on going No. 1?
NATHAN MacKINNON: This is unbelievable. I’ve dreamed about this moment for the majority of my life, and for it to finally come true and to be part of an organization like this is definitely surreal.
Q. When did you know?
NATHAN MacKINNON: When you guys found out. They didn’t tell me to my face that they were going to take me. Obviously they said it in the media but didn’t want to get my hopes up for anything. Definitely a little bit more nervous than I expected to be a couple minutes before the draft. But it all worked out, and this is definitely an unreal moment.
Q. When your name was called what did you think about?
NATHAN MacKINNON: My family, my dad. It’s so nice that the first person I got to hug was him, along with my mom and sister. I’m so fortunate that I had such a great family growing up, and I wouldn’t be here without them. It’s so nice that they’re here in New Jersey celebrating this with me.
Q. What do you remember about what Joe Sakic said to you on stage?
NATHAN MacKINNON: He says he’s so excited for this, and he says it’s going to be a great fit for me. It’s going to be great. I kind of blacked out for a second, but it’s so cool. They have such a promising team and such good young talent, and hopefully I can be a part of that.
Q. Did you ever get to see Roy play, and what do you remember about that?
NATHAN MacKINNON: I guess obviously I was a forward and I liked goal scorers, but obviously he’s one of the best goalies all time and pretty sure one of the best playoff performing goalies of all time, as well. I remember his competitive nature and his will to win is special. As a coach it’s easy to see.
Q. Seth went at No. 4. Are you surprised by that?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah. I think this is such a tight draft. I don’t know if we’ve seen anything like this before. Any four of us could have been No. 1, I think, it’s pretty safe to say. Seth is a very special player, and he’s going to have an unbelievable career in Nashville. I think that’s pretty clear. Along with Barkov and Joe, it’s going to be great careers for those guys, as well.
Obviously maybe in another draft Seth would have been 1, or maybe even this draft he could have been one. It was so tight, I guess it was just team preference.
Q. (No microphone).
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Every staff member is here from the moos organization, and they’ve opened up so many doors for me and Joe, and I’m sure Zach is going to get drafted pretty soon, as well. Definitely unbelievable couple years there. Memorial Cup was a great way to go out.
Q. What did Patrick tell you on stage?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Like I said, I blacked out a little bit, but he just said congratulations, and he’s very excited about this, like me.
Q. Do you believe you’re NHL ready?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, I do. I have a couple more months of training, get ready for training camp, and hopefully I can make the team and stick there. I feel like I can be a good contributor next year.
Q. Is this worth missing your prom for?
NATHAN MacKINNON: (Laughing) Yeah, I’m not much of a prom guy anyway, so definitely beats it a little bit.
Q. Do you have any idea what to expect from him having played against this team?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with him. I know his systems pretty well just from studying against them playing in the Playoffs. We did so much video on their team. I’m not sure if they’re going to be the same or not, but I know the style. He’s a pretty competitive guy, and his will so win is second to none, so I’m pretty excited to play for him.
Q. Any texts yet from the Avalanche players?
NATHAN MacKINNON: I haven’t checked my phone yet. Honestly it’s in my pocket and it’s going to stay there for a while. I just want to enjoy this, and I’m sure I’ll have a couple of text messages waiting.
Q. You’ve been saying for a while (inaudible) talk about that and what it means to you?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, this is surreal. They have a couple Cups under their belt. They’re such a prestigious organization, and I can’t wait to get started with them. Definitely a dream come true.
Q. Were you listening for Joe’s name?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, I was. I was mid-interview, and I had to smile during that. He’s going to be perfect there. I’m sure he’s so excited. That’s where he wanted to go, as well. Everything is working out.
Q. Watching Patrick as an opposing coach (inaudible)?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Well, I think we’re similar in that we’re both very competitive guys, and I think he definitely had a high work ethic and I have the same, so in terms of that I think it’s going to work very well. Obviously he’s going to be a little different than Don, but good different. I think it’s going to be a smooth transition.
NATHAN MacKINNON: That’s weird. Obviously it’s some pretty good company. I’m so proud to be where I’m from and where I grew up. Obviously not many kids get this opportunity at the position I’m in, and obviously the other guys didn’t. I just can’t wait to get back there and celebrate with my friends.
Q. What comes next for you?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, I’m not really sure to be honest. I know I’m going back to Halifax, and then I think I’m going over to PEI for a couple days to train, and yeah, development camp, I’m not sure what the date is for that. I’ll be happy whatever I do.
Q. Are you ready to accept the responsibility of playing for the Avalanche?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Absolutely. What I want to do for an NHL team, I want to try to elevate it as much as I can. They have already so many talented players, and it’s flattering that they wanted me to come help. It’s to win a Stanley Cup as soon as we can. Like Patrick said, I’ve been following it. The team is going to be a Stanley Cup mentality, and that’s what we’ll work for from day one.
Q. Talk about being able to learn from guys (inaudible)?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, they know what it takes. It’s the hardest trophy in sports in my opinion. It’s a grind to get there, and to have some leadership like that and some players that can really take the team under their wings, they’ve been — to win the Stanley Cup is pretty special, and very fortunate I can go to an organization like this.
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, obviously I was just a little kid, and I idolized Joe Sakic. I’m not going to lie, I switched to Pittsburgh. I hopped on that bandwagon, but for the first part of my life I was an Avs fan and I guess it’s a little ironic that I got to play for the moose heads and now the Avalanche, and everything is working out so far and hopefully will continue that way.
Q. So you were an Avs fan and just kind of stopped?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yeah, because I loved Sid and he was my favorite player. I guess he’s still my favorite player, I don’t really know what to say now. Hopefully I won’t be in the same league as him. I don’t know if I should dislike him now. I don’t know.
Yeah, he’s my favorite player, and obviously you hear so much good things about him. I guess I just switched to Pittsburgh because of how much I liked Sid. But definitely before that I liked the Avalanche and Joe Sakic.
Q. Did you hear from Sid?
NATHAN MacKINNON: Yes, I did. He wished me luck.
Source: NHL Media