Agents looking forward to big day for clients

Tuesday, 06.25.2013 / 3:46 PM | Mike G. Morreale  - Staff Writer

Pat Brisson, the agent for two of the top players available for the 2013 NHL Draft, recently was asked which of his two high profile clients -- defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks or Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads -- would be selected first at the 2013 NHL Draft, to be held Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

"At this point, you could flip a coin," Brisson told "They're two great players and you don't find too many of them. The teams that will get them will be thrilled for years to come because I've seen a lot of young players come in over the years."

Brisson knows of what he speaks, as his client list includes three consecutive No. 1 NHL draft picks -- Sidney Crosby (2005), Erik Johnson (2006) and Patrick Kane (2007).

"These kids are at a level that is special," he said of Jones and MacKinnon. "The work ethic and wanting to be better. Whether it's a John Tavares, Sid Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Matt Duchene, they're all doing the little things right. MacKinnon and Jones want to get better and better."

Despite the fact the two play different positions, Brisson said he can point to one similarity.

"They both compete so hard," he said. "I've know them both for three years now and they both have similar work ethics. I met Seth when he was 14 and he has the same competitiveness now as he had then. They are completely different players; one being a big defenseman with a right-handed shot [and] Nathan is a goal scorer and has tremendous speed."

Meanwhile, Allan Walsh, the agent for MacKinnon's talented teammate in Halifax, Jonathan Drouin, also said he is very excited to see where his client lands on draft day. Drouin is No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, behind Jones and MacKinnon.

"When it comes to on-ice vision and hockey sense, on-ice awareness and being able to make those passes, Jonathan has those special qualities," Walsh said. "Those are the few players who become elite in the game. I think that's what teams are seeing in Jonathan right now." asked Walsh if Drouin's draft stock might have increased when MacKinnon was sidelined 11 games with a lower-body injury in February. Drouin had 11 goals and 29 points without MacKinnon in the lineup, including nine multiple-point games.

"The injury to Nathan forced Jonathan to take his game to another level," Walsh said. "Most importantly, he assumed and took on the added pressure of now being the guy. No one wants to benefit from one's misfortune or injury, but he really grabbed the reigns. He had some of his most productive games all season during that period, and that opened up some eyes to how much upside he really has."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL

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