The top of the first round of the NHL Draft potentially just got very interesting.
Shortly after the NHL Draft Lottery, which saw the top three picks go to the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, in that order, it was widely assumed by most that the Avalanche would select Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones.
But things got interesting on Tuesday, when Adrian Dater of the Denver Post suggested that it is a very real possibility that the Avalanche could trade the top overall pick, and the opportunity to pick Jones. Dater also suggested the Avalanche could try to get the top two picks.
Lets examine the first possibility. If Colorado’s top overall pick is really available, and to be completely fair here, we are entering prime smokescreen season when it comes to information from teams, should Steve Yzerman try to make a deal to move up two spots?
It is an interesting scenario. First, the Lightning are all but guaranteed to get a great player, and depending on how their pre-draft board is set up, they very well could get the top player on their board. That means one of C Nathan MacKinnon, LW Jonathan Drouin or LW/RW Valeri Nichushkin will be there for the Lightning if they sit tight.
The big question, in my opinion, is how much does Steve Yzerman value Seth Jones, and would it be worth the assets necessary to move up to the top overall pick to get him? Or does he, and head scout Al Murray, feel like one of the other three players are close enough to the value of Seth Jones to not give up whatever head coach Patrick Roy and the Avalanche are going to ask for in return for the top pick. There is also the idea that Roy is familiar with both MacKinnon and Drouin from his days in the QMJHL, and therefore would not want to move down more any more than to the third pick. That could limit what the Avalanche could ask for in any potential talks with the Lightning.
The next month leading up to the draft could be interesting, if the top pick is available at all, of course. Either way, it is a win-win situation for Steve Yzerman and the Lightning.