Less than two weeks before they take the stage to announce the first overall selection in the 2013 NHL draft, the Colorado Avalanche have gone public with their plan.
In a Denver Post report published late Tuesday night, Avs executive vice-president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic, said the team will most likely not choose Seth Jones, a potential franchise defenceman.
"If we do pick first, we're leaning more toward one of those three forwards," Sakic said, adding the draft's elite forwards are "just too good to pass up."
The Halifax Mooseheads' dominant duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, along with Finn Alexander Barkov, are the three forwards he's referring to.
Almost all scouting services have ranked Jones as the No. 1 prospect available in June 30's draft in New Jersey. Most of those who haven't, however -- including renowned International Scouting Services -- have MacKinnon slotted in the top spot.
Sakic's comments would not be major news had the Avs not expressed in the past Jones, a sterling defender from the Portland Winterhawks, is an excellent fit in Denver.
The Avs have an abundance of talent up front but lag in the defence department. Jones, son of ex-pro basketball player and old Sakic chum Popeye Jones, also has strong ties to the city of Denver.
The elder Jones played 11 seasons in the NBA, including a stint as a member of the Denver Nuggets where he famously approached then-Avs captain Sakic about hockey, a sport he knew nothing about but his kid was fascinated with.
It should be noted Colorado is clearly interested in at least fielding trade queries, as evidenced by Sakic's use of the phrase "if we do pick first."