Hype surrounding Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones and the 2013 NHL draft started to pick up steam in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Not only did TSN release a video featuring the top two candidates to go No. 1 in Newark, N.J., next year, it caught up with them in the stands at Consol Energy Centre.
“It’s a lot of fun,” MacKinnon said in the interview. “I know a lot of the guys here being drafted. It definitely makes you anxious, you want to get here, but at the same time, I’m looking forward to playing in Halifax next year and you’ve got to be patient.”
MacKinnon, a five-foot-11 centre, led the Mooseheads in scoring last season with 31 goals among 78 points in 58 games, plus a franchise record 28 points in 17 playoff games.
Jones, a six-foot-three, 201-pound defenceman, had eight goals and 23 assists for 31 points in 52 games with the U.S. under-18 development program. He will join the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks next season.
The two top prospects have spent the past few weeks rooming together, training in Los Angeles, attending the Stanley Cup Final and checking out the draft festivities.
“It’s very healthy, very competitive,” Jones said of next season. “Nate’s a great hockey player here, he’ll have a great season next year and I’m looking forward to having a great season also.”