Avs lean towards Nathan MacKinnon

Updated: June 25, 2013, 1:03 PM ET
By Craig Custance

Patrick Roy knows the NHL draft can be a bit of a crapshoot. He lived it. In 1984, 50 picks were made before the Canadiens selected him in the third round at No. 51. 22 years later, he was in the Hall of Fame.

Armed with the No. 1 overall pick in his first draft as Avalanche coach and vice president of hockey operations, there are a couple of priorities. The first is finding a player who can make an immediate impact with the Avalanche. The second priority is removing as much risk as possible from the selection.

He's identified the player who best fits both characteristics.

During a Monday phone conversation, Roy said that if the Avalanche were picking right now, they would select Halifax center Nathan MacKinnon.

"If we move [to] second, we'll go [Jonathan] Drouin. If we go third, [Alexander] Barkov," Roy said.

They're all forwards. Two that Roy is extremely familiar with having competed against them in the QMJHL.

"The draft is the draft, there are surprises," Roy said. "At the same time, I know Drouin and MacKinnon, definitely without a doubt, are outstanding. It's hard for me not to go MacKinnon and Drouin. I know how talented they are ... they dominated our league from the first day to the last. When you're a winner, you're a winner. MacKinnon and Drouin are capable of bringing their team to another level."

Roy has had plenty of time to evaluate the Avalanche roster and examine exactly why Colorado was the 29th team in the league last year. He sees what everyone else sees. The need isn't at center, it's on defense. He's not in denial, even as the organization has made a very public decision to pass on the best defenseman in the draft.

He understands the biggest problem area on this team.