The biggest question entering the NHL Entry Draft surrounds top prospect Seth Jones and where he will be drafted. The Colorado Avalanche have remained adamant that they will be considering other options at No. 1 overall and it appears they’re “leaning towards” drafting 17-year old Nathan MacKinnon. But if the Av’s pass on Jones, that could be a move that changes the face of the draft as there are a number of scenarios involving Jones the further down the draft he slips.
Colorado Avalanche – It’s very possible that the Av’ have been using MacKinnon as a smoke screen this whole time in an effort to secure a trade for the No. 1 pick. But if the Av’s were trying to maximize value for the pick, they likely would have gone with the strategy of saying they were taking him so that teams would panic and offer them deals they wouldn’t be able to refuse. Now, it seems the most likely trade they can make would be to flip picks with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning or Nashville Predators but they killed most of the trade value the pick had when they made it clear Jones wasn’t their guy.
Florida Panthers – Not a lock, but the Florida Panthers will have to seriously consider the future of their franchise if Seth Jones is passed on and is on the board when they go on the clock at No. 2 overall. The Panthers are a team that could very much use a player like Jones who not only sits as a top prospect in the draft, but the hype around him is reaching Sidney Crosby levels and that kind of publicity could do wonders to a hockey team playing in Florida. If he falls though, the Panthers will continue to get trade calls and may end up finding a deal they can’t refuse.
Tampa Bay Lightning – In the NBA Draft it was expected that Nerlens Noel would be a No. 1 pick. That quickly changed to him being projected as a top 5 pick before he fell into being the sixth overall pick. Now that’s not to say Seth Jones will take a tumble like that in the NHL Draft but it shows that anything is possible. Jones was supposed to be the No. 1 pick until the Av’s pumped the brakes on that notion. Florida would love to draft him but might pass as well. That leaves the Tampa Bay Lightning who haven’t really said whether they will or won’t draft Jones at third overall. Tampa Bay seems to be another team willing to hear trade offers and the further Jones slips, the more teams will get intrigued and try to offer up a trade. Nashville could try to swap picks with Tampa Bay as could Carolina or Calgary who pick fifth and sixth respectively.
Nashville Predators – If for some reason Jones suffers a tumble to the fourth overall spot, he won’t be falling any further. Unlike the Av’s, Panthers and Lightning, the Preds have made it public knowledge that they will be unplugging the phones if Jones is on the board at fourth overall. Jones is the type of guy they can thrown in a lineup with Shea Weber and get fans in Nashville even more excited about hockey than they already are. Few fan bases in the NHL are as passionate as Nashville fans and adding Seth Jones will mean that they have the top prospect in the draft and instantly makes them a team to take very seriously in the East.