As we went through Round One, it struck me how much the 2013 NHL Draft had impacted the Predators and Avalanche series. That draft was full of surprises because there was so much mystery heading into it.
Days before the choices began, we spoke to TSN Draft Analyst Craig Button on Slapshot Radio. There was so much pre-draft intrigue as the draft order was set with Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay just ahead of Nashville.
Coming off the 48-game season, Colorado had allowed the fourth-most goals in the League (Nashville was 11th). The Avs did have 25-year-old Erik Johnson and 21-year-old Tyson Barrie on defense, but that was about it. So clearly, the Avalanche's priority should have been defense:
With all of that in mind, it seemed Colorado was set on Nathan MacKinnon. At the time, Draftniks also had centers Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin (MacKinnon's teammate with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL) as the other most desirable forwards. Shane Malloy of NHL Network Radio's Hockey Prospects Radio, commented on another scenario:
As it turned out, the Avalanche were not posturing. As expected, they got an excellent player in MacKinnon. Only one other player from that draft has scored more goals (Calgary's Sean Monahan with 138) than MacKinnon's 114.