NHL Scouting Combine: Seth Jones or Nathan Mackinnon?
By Tony Ambrogio (@SNTonyAmbrogio)
The Canadian Press
When Nathan Mackinnon has some down time he likes to play the “Grand Slam” tennis video game. He always takes on the role as Roger Federer.
“He never breaks a sweat,” said Mackinnon, projected to be the 1st player taken in the NHL draft later this month. “He shows great composure and is a fierce competitor.”
Much like Federer, Mackinnon shows great composure, always seems to be in control of the situation, hates losing and is a star in his sport.
“I think I’ve had a good season and proved to the teams I can be the first overall pick,” said Mackinnon from the NHL scouting combine.
The Colorado Avalanche hold the 1st pick and with Patrick Roy – who watched Mackinnon while coaching Quebec in the Quebec Major Junior hockey League – having a say in who the Avs pick, Mackinnon is intrigued at the possibility of playing for the hall of fame goaltender.
“He has a very competitive nature and I think I have that too, so I think it’d go really well,” said Mackinnon. “He wants to win and I’d love to play for him. It’d be great.”
Seth Jones is also getting plenty of consideration for the top pick.
As a youngster growing up in Denver and being introduced to the game thanks to watching Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche, being the first pick by the Avs would come with high expectations.
“Yes, there would be pressure,” admitted Jones. But it’s the kind of pressure he feels would make him a better player. Jones convinced his 6-foot-8 father, former NBA player Popeye Jones, to allow him to try his hand at hockey.
The younger Jones recalled the first time his father joined him on skates.
“That was pretty funny,” said the 6-foot-4 Portland Winterhawks defenseman. “He did not let go of the boards, literally, pulling himself around the rink. He had some custom size 15 CCM skates and an extra- long stick with a six inch knob.”
Jones is a mobile defenceman who has a great shot, is mobile, but scouts wish he had a nasty streak.
Jones and Mackinnon have in the words of the Halifax Mooseheads forward a “healthy” relationship and have been playing hockey against each other for years.
While Mackinnon was dominant in the Mastercard Memorial cup – 7 goals, 6 assists in 4 games – Jones did lead the U.S. to gold at the world junior hockey championship.
There is a mutual respect there and also a competition to be the 1st player chosen June 30 at the NHL draft in Newark, New Jersey.
“I don’t want to get into that kind of stuff,” said Mackinnon. “There are a ton of good players in this draft and I would like to think that I’m one of them, but at the same time everybody has their own strengths.”