Avalanche take MacKinnon with top pick in NHL Draft
NEWARK, N.J. — Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby now share more than a hometown. They've both been No. 1 picks in the NHL Draft.
The Colorado Avalanche made the 17-year-old MacKinnon the first pick of the draft Sunday at Prudential Center.
The Avalanche won the draft lottery for the first time, and Joe Sakic, the man put in charge of Colorado's rebuilding project, had made it clear that MacKinnon was going to be the top pick. He was the first player drafted No. 1 overall out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League since the Penguins selected Crosby in 2005.
MacKinnon and Crosby are from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
“I love Sid. He's my favorite player,” MacKinnon said. “I guess he's still my favorite player. I don't really know what to say now since I'm going to be in the same league as him. I don't know if I should dislike him or not.”
MacKinnon, a 6-foot, 182-pound center, said he hopes to make the Avalanche roster this season. His selection was just the start of a busy day at the home of the New Jersey Devils, who gave a jam-packed crowd a reason to cheer when the announced they acquired goaltender Cory Schneider, 27, from Vancouver. Schneider seems in line to be the eventual successor to Martin Brodeur, 41, in net.
The Florida Panthers made center Aleksander Barkov, the top-ranked European skater, the second overall pick. Tampa Bay took forward Jonathan Drouin, also out of Halifax, with the third overall pick.
The Nashville Predators pounced on defenseman Seth Jones with the fourth overall pick. Jones, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman, was widely considered the top prospect.
• Two incoming Penn State freshmen were drafted — goalie Eamon McAdam (third round, Islanders) and defenseman Mike Williamson (sixth round, Canucks).
• Defenseman Miles Liberati, a Cheswick native who attended Central Catholic, was picked in the seventh round by the Vancouver Canucks.