Joe Sakic didn't change his tune Thursday when interviewed by ESPN.com, the Colorado Avalanche executive confirming he meant what he said when telling the Denver Post that the club’s intention is to select one of the top three forwards available with the first-overall pick in the June 30 draft.
Which means passing on blueliner Seth Jones, a Denver native.
"He’s a great player, he’s going to be good," Sakic said over the phone from Denver. "But after we had our internal meetings we came up with these three forwards, (Nathan) McKinnon, (Jonathan) Drouin and (Alexander) Barkov. We’re really leaning towards one of those three forwards."
So to be clear, you'll pick one of those three players? Sakic was asked.
"If we’re picking first overall, yes," he said firmly.
To which some people are responding, "Why tell the world?"
"It was more really for our fans here, to let our fans know what we’re thinking going into the draft," said Sakic, the Avs' vice president of hockey operations. "That’s really what the purpose was, let them know where we’re leaning. What I said is that we’re picking first overall and this is what we’re doing."
Sakic has been a straight shooter all his life. He’s not the kind of guy to say something and mean the opposite. Still, the impact of his comments could be construed to help the teams with the second and third picks, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, feel more anxious now to perhaps pick up the phone and offer a package to Colorado to move up.
"Honestly, I don’t know what to expect," Sakic said of possible offers for the first pick. "We’ll see when we get there. We're going to do what we feel is best for our organization. If somebody calls, we’ll obviously listen. We’ll do what’s right."
Sakic and old pal Patrick Roy are now running the front office, in charge of trades, etc. So far it’s been a blast, Sakic said.
"It’s exciting," he said. "It's a challenge. It’s been great and it's something I'm really looking forward to."