DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche hit the NHL lottery grabbing the overall first pick in the 2013 draft. It is widely believed the player they will take is Seth Jones, a defenseman who grew up in the Denver area.
Bob McKenzie, the hockey analyst for TSN in Canada, says Jones is the best prospect in this year's draft and says that 8 of 10 NHL scouts he spoke with have Jones listed as the top pick.
Jones is a 6'4", 206 pound highly skilled defenseman. He is currently playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. He finished the 61 game regular season with 14 goals and 42 assists, or nearly a point a game.
"I don't know what the Aves are going to do, but I'm sure they are going to take him. I'm just speaking as an outsider looking in, but he's definitely the real deal," Adam Foote, retired Colorado Avalanche defenseman, said.
Foote remembers watching Seth Jones as he learned to play the game in Denver area rinks. Jones's father, Popeye Jones, played for the Denver Nuggets. Seth played youth hockey here until his father was traded to Dallas.
"One thing I always remember is he was always an intense focused kid. Even from a young age he wanted to get better," said Angelo Ricci, director of hockey operations for Colorado Thunderbirds. Ricci coached Seth Jones for several years.
If Seth Jones is drafted by the Colorado Avalanche he will become the first Colorado player ever to be selected first overall in the NHL. David Hale is the only other Colorado player ever selected in the first round of the NHL draft. Hale was drafted by the New Jersey Devils.
Jones would also become the first African American ever to be taken first overall in the NHL draft.
"It is what he stands for in our state at this point and he is opening doors for lots of kids," Ricci said.
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