When the Colorado Avalanche were preparing to make the No. 1 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, general manager Joe Sakic was faced with a difficult decision.
The Avalanche needed a building-block defenseman, and Sakic had a relationship with the best defenseman available, Seth Jones.
Sakic was a big reason Jones became a hockey player. He was captain of the Avalanche when he was tracked down by Jones' father, Popeye Jones, then a forward for the Denver Nuggets, who asked Sakic for advice on getting his sons started on the ice.
[RELATED: Complete NHL Draft coverage]
Instead, Sakic opted for the best forward available and chose center Nathan MacKinnon. This season MacKinnon is a Hart Trophy finalist and helped lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We all know what type of player he is and how competitive he is," Sakic said in March. "I think probably for him to realize that he doesn't have to go 100 miles per hour all the time, he learned that. What I like about him is, especially last year near the end of the year, he really took to the challenge of playing against other team's No. 1 centers and learning. He's become a much more complete, 200-foot player.
"Obviously we know how fast he is, but with how strong of a skater he is and how strong of a player he is, he really wants to be not only the best offensively but an excellent two-way player. That's what he is becoming and that's what I love about him."
Not every player picked that weekend has reached lofty status. So with five years of hindsight, how would that draft go if the same players were made available today?
Note: Players listed with teams that drafted them; original draft position in parenthesis
1. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche (1)
MacKinnon, 22, leads players from his draft class with 303 points (114 goals, 189 assists) in 374 games. He elevated his play this season, finishing fifth in the NHL with 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists), 11 points behind Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid despite playing eight fewer games. At MacKinnon's average of 1.31 points per game, he could have had at least 10 more points and possibly won the Art Ross Trophy if he played 82 games like McDavid. MacKinnon also was the driving force behind the Avalanche reaching the playoffs after finishing with the fewest points in the NHL in 2016-17.
2. Seth Jones, D, Nashville Predators (4)
Jones, 23, is first among defensemen and fifth among all skaters from the 2013 draft with 182 points (45 goals, 137 assists), and his 393 games are the most among players selected. Jones went from a solid contributor to a lead role after the Predators traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 6, 2016. He had 63 points (15 goals, 48 assists) and averaged 19:44 of ice time in 199 games before the trade, and has 119 points (30 goals, 89 assists) and averages 24:06 in 194 games since the trade. His 57 points this season were the most by a Blue Jackets defenseman, and his 16 goals tied teammate Zach Werenski for most by a Columbus defenseman.
3. Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers (2)
Barkov, 22, is third in his draft class in goals (100) and points (249) but he's more than just a point producer. He's averaged 19:16 of ice time in five NHL seasons, most among forwards from the 2013 draft, and his plus-33 rating is second. This season he reached 20 goals for the third straight season (27) and was second in average time on ice among forwards at 22:04. He also was assessed 14 penalty minutes and is a Lady Byng Trophy finalist.
Video: FLA@MTL: Barkov banks in slick goal off defender
4. Sean Monahan, C, Calgary Flames (6)
Monahan, 23, has at least 22 goals in all five of his NHL seasons, and his 138 goals are the most of any player drafted in 2013. He scored 31 goals this season, tying his NHL best and the second-highest single-season mark for any player drafted in 2013, behind MacKinnon's 39 goals this season.
5. Jake Guentzel, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (77)
Guentzel, 23, is the top playoff performer of anyone chosen in the 2013 draft, and was a big part of the Penguins' Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017. His 23 playoff goals lead players from his draft and are tied for sixth among all players since 2013-14. His production has come in 37 games; the players ahead of Guentzel have played at least 62. His seven game-winning goals in the playoffs since 2013-14 are tied for second, one behind Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. His 0.66 points-per-game average in the regular season is fourth among players in his draft class; in the playoffs he's averaging 1.14 points per game, second to teammate Sidney Crosby (1.16) among all players with at least 30 playoff games since 2005-06.
6. Bo Horvat, C, Vancouver Canucks (9)
The Canucks acquired the pick used on Horvat, 23, in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for goaltender Cory Schneider. Horvat has raised his goal total the past three seasons, topping out at 22 in 2017-18. His 71 goals are fourth among players drafted in 2013, and his 161 points are sixth.
7. Alexander Wennberg, C, Columbus Blue Jackets (14)
Wennberg, 23, has become a core piece for the Blue Jackets since arriving in 2014-15. His 154 points (33 goals, 121 assists) are seventh among players in his draft class. His offensive numbers dipped a bit this season but his plus-22 rating was the second-best total by anyone selected in 2013, behind the plus-23 by Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce in 2016-17.
8. Anthony Mantha, RW, Detroit Red Wings (20)
Mantha, 23, became a dependable scorer this season, with his 24 goals leading the Red Wings. Mantha spent the entire season in the NHL for the first time in 2017-18 and has the look of a core piece for Detroit as it attempts to return to the playoffs after missing the past two seasons.
Video: DET@BUF: Mantha chips home Hicketts' big rebound
9. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Washington Capitals (23)
Burakovsky, 23, is sixth among players in his draft class with 50 goals, but his average ice time of 13:15 is 25th among the 32 players drafted in 2013 to play at least 100 games. He helped the Capitals reach the Cup Final with two goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
10. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buffalo Sabres (8)
No player picked in 2013 has averaged as much ice time as Ristolainen, 23, who has skated 24:09 in 346 games, which is second to Jones (393) among defensemen. He's been productive; his 31 goals and 151 points are second to Jones among defensemen in the 2013 draft class.
11. Shea Theodore, D, Anaheim Ducks (26)
Theodore, 22, was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights on June 21 and got his most significant NHL time after splitting the previous two between the Ducks and the American Hockey League. He was third among Vegas defensemen with 29 points (six goals, 23 assists), and was second on the Golden Knights with an average ice time of 20:21 in 61 games. In the playoffs, he averaged 21:48 in 20 games to help them reach the Stanley Cup Final.
12. Brett Pesce, D, Carolina Hurricanes (66)
Pesce, 23, was the 21st defenseman selected in 2013 and has provided a solid return, with his 55 points (nine goals, 46 assists) in 216 games third among defensemen. He's also a career plus-10 while averaging 20:20 of ice time.
13. Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets (13)
Morrissey, 23, has provided the Jets with a strong defensive presence and a growing offensive game. The past two seasons he has 13 goals and he's plus-127 in shot attempts.
14. Elias Lindholm, C, Carolina Hurricanes (5)
Lindholm, 23, has reached 40 points the past two seasons, and his 188 points (64 goals, 124 assists) in 374 games is fourth among players drafted in 2013.
15. Jonathan Drouin, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
Drouin, 23, had 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 2016-17 with the Lightning, and was traded to the Montreal Canadiens on June 15, 2017. He was shifted full-time to center this season and had 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists). General manager Marc Bergevin said he was happy with how Drouin played the position in the second half of the season.
Video: MTL@PIT: Drouin bats one home at the doorstep
16. Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers (7)
Nurse, 23, played all 82 games this season and looks to be a piece the Oilers can build around. He led Edmonton defensemen with 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) and a plus-15 rating.
17. Will Butcher, D, Colorado Avalanche (123)
Butcher, 23, played four seasons at the University of Denver but never signed with the Avalanche and became an unrestricted free agent. He signed with the New Jersey Devils on Aug. 27 and led rookie defensemen this season with 44 points (five goals, 39 assists) and 23 power-play points in 81 games.
18. Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators (99)
Saros, 23, has been a solid backup to Pekka Rinne the past two seasons. In 26 games this season he was 11-5-7 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and three shutouts. His 21 NHL wins are more than the combined total of the six other goalies drafted in 2013 to play in the NHL (20).
19. Ryan Pulock, D, New York Islanders (15)
Pulock, 23, led rookie defensemen with 10 goals and was third with 32 points this season, his first full season in the NHL. The Islanders gave up the most goals in the NHL (293) but he was a minus-4, third among Islanders defensemen to play at least 40 games.
20. Max Domi, LW, Arizona Coyotes (12)
Domi, 23, is 10th among players drafted in 2013 with 135 points (36 goals, 99 assists). He scored 18 goals as a rookie in 2015-16 but has 18 goals the past two seasons.
21. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, New York Rangers (75)
Buchnevich, 23, played a full season in the NHL for the first time and was fourth on the Rangers with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists).
22. Ryan Hartman, RW, Chicago Blackhawks (30)
Hartman, 23, was chosen by the Blackhawks with the final pick of the first round, and as a rookie in 2016-17 he had 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists). He was traded to the Predators on Feb. 26, and had three points (two goals, one assist) in nine playoff games.
Video: NSH@WPG, Gm4: Hartman roofs puck to open scoring
23. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets (89)
Bjorkstrand, 23, became a key top-nine forward after splitting the previous two seasons between Columbus and the AHL. He was fifth on the Blue Jackets with 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists), and had three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games.
24. Miles Wood, LW, New Jersey Devils (100)
Wood, 22, was fourth on the Devils with 19 goals this season, his first spent entirely in the NHL. Wood was an irritating presence to the opposition, drawing 28 penalties, second among 2013 draft picks to Hartman (32).
25. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Dallas Stars (10)
Nichushkin, 23, made the Stars after being drafted and had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 79 games in 2013-14. A hip injury limited him to eight games in 2014-15, and he returned to his native Russia after the 2015-16 season. He's had two solid seasons with CSKA in the Kontinental Hockey League, and Stars general manager Jim Nill said he expects Nichushkin to return to Dallas this season.
26. Andrew Copp, C, Winnipeg Jets (104)
Copp, 23, has become a solid bottom-six forward for the Jets, and had a personal NHL-best 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 82 games this season. His plus-35 rating is the best among players picked in 2013.
27. Artturi Lehkonen, LW, Montreal Canadiens (55)
Lehkonen, 22, has 30 goals the past two seasons, fifth on the Canadiens, in 139 games; the players ahead of him have played at least 143. His 18 goals in 2016-17 were the most by a Montreal rookie since Chris Higgins had 23 in 2005-06.
28. Mattias Janmark, C, Detroit Red Wings (79)
Janmark, 25, was selected by the Red Wings and traded to the Stars on March 1, 2015, for forward Erik Cole. He made his NHL debut in 2015-16 with 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 73 games but missed the following season because of a knee injury. He returned this season with 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 81 games.
Video: VAN@DAL: Janmark beats Markstrom on breakaway for SHG
29. Andreas Johnsson, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (202)
Johnsson, 23, had 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 54 games with Toronto of the AHL, and led that league in playoff scoring with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 16 games to help Toronto win the Calder Cup. He played well enough to make his NHL debut late in the season, and could spend more time with the Maple Leafs next season.
30. Sven Andrighetto, RW, Montreal Canadiens (86)
Andrighetto, 25, was 20 years old when the Canadiens selected him in the third round. After three seasons spent mostly in the AHL, he was traded to the Avalanche on March 1, 2017. He had 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 19 games after the trade, and had 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 50 games this season.
Missing first-round picks: Samuel Morin, No. 11, Philadelphia Flyers; Nikita Zadorov, No. 16, Buffalo Sabres; Curtis Lazar, No. 17, Ottawa Senators; Mirco Mueller, No. 18, San Jose Sharks; Kerby Rychel, No. 19, Columbus Blue Jackets; Frederik Gauthier, No. 21, Toronto Maple Leafs; Emile Poirier, No. 22, Calgary Flames; Hunter Shinkaruk, No. 24, Vancouver Canucks; Michael McCarron, No. 25, Montreal Canadiens; Marko Dano, No. 27, Columbus Blue Jackets; Morgan Klimchuk, No. 28, Calgary Flames; Jason Dickinson, No. 29, Dallas Stars.