The Colorado Avalanche hold the top draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. This particular draft has three fantastic options for the teams at the top of the board, but for the Colorado Avalanche, there is only one choice: Seth Jones.
Best Player Available
Every time there has been a ranking of the prospects, Seth Jones has ranked at the top this year. His scouting report combined with his physical stature (6’4″ and over 200 pounds) would cause any team to stand up and take notice. Not only can he take a huge shot and play solidly in the defensive zone, his skating is fantastic and he can contribute in the offensive zone as well.
Best Player For the Avalanche
There are a lot of philosophies when it comes to drafting a player. Do you take the guy that fits a need for your team or do you just take the best player available? As it happens, Seth Jones just happens to be the both for the Avalanche.
In addition to being the clear top prospect all season long, he fits the area of the largest need for the Colorado Avalanche. The defense, for lack of a better word, was pathetic in every sense of the word. They didn’t produce offensively and they were a huge liability in their own zone. Players like Greg Zanon didn’t know how to make a first pass out of the zone which ended up costing the team several different ways.
Jones’ skating and first pass are some of the strongest areas of his game. Not to mention his ability to create offensively and help on the power play, Jones helps the Avalanche defense in every aspect of the game.
Jones Already Has A History of Winning
Winning is already second nature to Seth Jones. He has three gold medals (Twice from the under-18 World Championships, and most recently from the 2013 World Junior Championships) to his credit.
He also led his WHL team, the Portland Winterhawks, to a Memorial Cup Final appearance against the other two top prospects, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.
Simply put, Jones has won everywhere he has ever been and will expect to win in the places that he will go. For the Avalanche to pass on a guy who already has this culture of winning established in him would be foolish.
Bring Jones Full Circle
Seth Jones, as was mentioned in the ESPN feature that was recently done on him, grew up as a huge Colorado Avalanche fan. Not only will his dream of playing in the NHL come true, but his dream of playing for the team he loved as a kid will come true as well. What more could either side ask for?
The Avalanche have a history of this in the draft as well. Colorado has two other budding young superstars that were selected towards the top of their respective drafts that also grew up worshipping the Colorado Avalanche. I am speaking, of course, of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. When you put up one of the worst records in the NHL, it is always nice to know that the player you are selecting at the top of the draft isn’t just excited about playing in the NHL, but being part of your team.
A Match Made in Heaven
There is just far too much that makes sense for this pick for the Avalanche to possibly go in any other direction.
Jones will improve the defense immediately, he’s the best player available in the draft at the top and he wants to play for this team.
The Avalanche have a simple choice to make. They are the first team in the last four years to have the first-overall and it would be easy to fall into the same pattern Edmonton did. Or, they can learn from what Edmonton didn’t do.
Each of the last three years the Oilers picked a small, highly skilled forward at the top of the draft. While this did help to make the team exciting, the Oilers remain a team without any real defense to speak of. The Avalanche can go with the young forward that is small and leave their defense to flounder, or go for the all-around defenseman that can improve the team in all three zone. To me, there is no choice.
I’m a Denver native who has been a fan of the Avalanche since they came to town and a fan of the game before that. I started writing my own blog a couple years ago before moving to Bleacher Report and becoming a Featured Columnist there. You can also find me the Burgundy Brigade Podcast