Number one pick MacKinnon to 'have fun' in Colorado


Colorado Avalanche have insisted number one draft pick Nathan MacKinnon will not be under pressure to carry the team from day one, according to ESPN.

The 17-year-old was the first pick of the 2013 NHL draft on Sunday, landing with the Avalanche who placed last in the Western Conference last season.

But new head coach Patrick Roy revealed MacKinnon will not be placed under too much pressure, and will likely start alongside veterans on the third line.

"I want him to have fun," Roy told ESPN. "There's going to be enough pressure on him anyway. I know he's going to deal well with it. At the same time, it's important for him to feel comfortable.

"We need to give him time to adapt and just feel comfortable."

MacKinnon became the first player since boyhood hero Sidney Crosby to be selected number one overall from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - and he's only the third 17-year-old taken first in the draft since 1988. The last before MacKinnon was Crosby in 2005.

The teenager was compared with the Pittsburgh Penguins star throughout his early teenage years, but the youngster actually sees himself as more similar to recent Stanley Cup winning captain Jonathan Toews.

"I realise that I wasn't going to be Sid and I am going to be a different player than him," said MacKinnon. "I wanted to create my own path. We're from the same area - if I wasn't from there those comparisons wouldn't be made.

The 6ft-2in starlet plays hard on both ends of the ice, and was hailed as a "difference maker" by Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic.

The Colorado team have not made the playoffs for the last three seasons, but insist they've done their homework on MacKinnon.

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