Nathan MacKinnon Drafted by Colorado Avalanche With 1st Pick in 2013 NHL Draft

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2013

The Colorado Avalanche made good on the franchise's word and selected Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon No. 1 overall in the 2013 NHL draft.

MacKinnon is the most talented offensive forward in this year’s class—amassing 32 goals with 43 assists in 44 games this season as a member of the Mooseheads—but his talent goes beyond just an offensive touch.

At 6'0" and 182 pounds, he will need time to grow into his body and develop. MacKinnon is willing to mix it up in the defensive zone in order to protect his own net. The prospect’s high motor and tenacity will make learning the nuances of playing defense as a forward in the NHL something he picks up very quickly.

MacKinnon also boasts elite speed that could find him in the role of an aggressive forechecker or playmaker around the opposing netminder. Add in his incredible hand-eye coordination and the Canadian prospect is an NHL star in the making.

While some players lack control when they possess such speed, MacKinnon is as fluid on his skates as anyone in this class and will use that skating ability to maneuver around even the best defenders at the NHL level.

Despite being the No. 2 overall prospect—Portland defender Seth Jones was ranked No. 1 by—the Avalanche had expressed their desire to select MacKinnon with the first pick throughout the draft process.

New head coach Patrick Roy told Craig Custance of ESPN before the draft that the team’s choice would be the Halifax center, and with the club following through on his word, Colorado fans have to be excited about the future direction of the franchise.

The Avalanche already have an impressive stable of young forwards and the addition of a potential star like MacKinnon could turn the tide for the franchise and re-instill a winning attitude.