Nathan MacKinnon is expected to be picked No. 1 by Colorado in the NHL draft today.
By Dave Molinari Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Center • 6 feet, 182 pounds
Had 32 goals and 43 assists in 44 games with Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. ... Was named MVP of Memorial Cup tournament after leading Mooseheads to the championship. ... Shares hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, with Sidney Crosby. ... Is widely regarded as being ready to step directly into the NHL, thanks to exceptional offensive talents and instincts. ... Highly competitive with a lot of grit even though, like most draft-eligible players, he is continuing to mature physically.
Defenseman • 6 feet 4, 205 pounds
Had 14 goals and 42 in 61 games with Portland of the Western Hockey League. ... Son of former NBA player "Popeye" Jones. ... Spent much of childhood in Denver and was an Avalanche fan. ... Regarded by many scouts as the top player in the draft, but executives of Colorado, which owns the No. 1 pick, say Avalanche plans to draft MacKinnon if pick isn't traded. ... Size and strength have some scouts projecting him as a Chris Pronger-type impact player. ... Skates and passes well and is solid in his own end.
Left winger • 5 feet 11, 187 pounds
Had 41 goals and 64 assists in 49 games as MacKinnon's teammate in Halifax. ... Crafty playmaker who is fast, creative and shifty and is viewed by some scouts as the finest pure talent available. ... Was honored as player of the year in the Canadian Hockey League, which covers the three major-junior leagues. ... Put together a 29-game scoring streak during the regular season. ... Not only is able to get the puck to linemates but has a well-documented willingness to do so.
Center • 6 feet 2, 207 pounds
Had 21 goals and 27 assists in 53 games with Tappara in his native Finland. ... Lists Penguins center Evgeni Malkin as one of his favorite players. ... Fluent in English and Russian as well as Finnish. ... Projects as a top-six forward in the NHL with excellent hockey sense that complements his size and strength. ... Was knocked out of the playoffs by a shoulder injury. ... Sound and responsible at both ends of the ice. ... Physical style should ease his transition to North American hockey.
Right winger • 6 feet 4, 202 pounds
Had four goals and two assists in 18 games with the Kontinental Hockey League team in his hometown of Chelyabinsk. ... Has size, speed and strength that give him the potential to be top power forward in the NHL. ... Played in the Kontinental Hockey League last season but tells anyone who asks that he wants to move to the NHL immediately. ... Has earned a reputation for producing in high-stakes situations.
Defenseman • 6 feet 4, 185 pounds
Had 12 goals, 29 assists and 116 penalty minutes in 68 games with Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. ... Nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. ... Steady, reliable and responsible all over the ice and isn't shy about playing the body. ... Despite playing a position that often requires some seasoning in minor leagues, could move directly into the NHL if drafted into the right situation.
Center • 6 feet 2, 187 pounds
Had 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 games with Ottawa (OHL). ... His grandfather, Rick Hay, played one game for the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League in 1961-62. ... Is regarded as one of the top two-way performers available and has excellent intangibles and attention to detail, which allow him to be effective in all situations. ... Has skill level and instincts required to have an offensive impact as a pro.
Defenseman • 6 feet 3, 201 pounds
Had three goals and 12 assists in 52 games for TPS in Finland's top league. ... Good skater who can handle and move the puck. ... Play in his own end needs some work, which hardly is unusual for a teenager at his position. ... Is reputed to have a mean streak and is expected to get bigger. ... Has a good shot from the point.
Center • 6 feet, 181 pounds
Had 11 goals and 19 assists in 48 games with Brynas in Sweden's Elitserien. ... Told NHL.com his favorite team is the Penguins and his two favorite players are Crosby and Malkin. ... Plays a well-rounded game that gives him a chance to move into a top-six role in the NHL immediately. ... Must fill out some but isn't shy about operating in high-traffic areas. ... Excellent hockey sense.
Center/Left winger • 5 feet 11, 174 pounds
Had 37 goals and 49 assists in 64 games with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League. ... A gifted goal-scorer and playmaker who is among the most crowd-pleasing talents in this draft. ... Has outstanding speed, but it's possible his modest size will make the challenge greater when he turns pro. ... Purported to be a good leader.