Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones say they are both in the dark about whose name will be called first in Sunday's NHL draft.

But the Colorado Avalanche are telling anyone who will listen that they are leaning towards MacKinnon, a forward, with their first overall pick.

Nothing against Jones, a defenceman who is the top-ranked North American skater. But Avs chief scout Rick Pracey says their research shows that picking an elite forward at the top of the draft pays dividends.

Pracey notes that four of the top five scorers this season were No. 1 overall picks in the draft (Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane).

And over the last five years, some 48 to 50 per cent of the top 20 scorers were selected in the top five of the draft.

So the Avs say they are selecting offence.