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Avalanche select MacKinnon with first pick

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NEWARK, N.J. -- For the second time in eight years, a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

Folks in Denver can only hope that Nathan MacKinnon will be as successful as his predecessor.

The Halifax Mooseheads center -- who hails from the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby -- was the first player selected on Sunday in the draft hosted by the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

The 6-foot, 182-pound MacKinnon scored 32 goals and had 43 assists in 44 games for the Mooseheads this past season, leading Halifax to the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup. That included a win over the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Seth Jones, a Denver native who topped the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's prospect rankings and had previously been considered the favorite to go No. 1 overall.

Colorado has been busy since finishing last in the Western Conference last season at 16-25-7.

The Avs fired coach Joe Sacco, installed legendary former goaltender Patrick Roy behind the bench and promoted former captain Joe Sakic to executive vice president of hockey operations. The new regime made a splash earlier in the week, landing winger Alex Tanguay and defenseman Cory Sarich from the Calgary Flames for David Jones and Shane O'Brien.

Now, the Avalanche has added MacKinnon to a young core that includes Gabriel Landeskog (the No. 2 overall pick in 2011) and Matt Duchene (the No. 3 overall pick in 2009.
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