The Memorial Cup championship game is Sunday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and, yes, there will be Avalanche scouts in attendance. And, almost certainly, new Avs coach Patrick Roy and every other member of the team's front office will at least be tuning in on TV.

The top three prospects in the NHL draft — Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads — will play for the designation of North America's best major-junior team. The Avs have the first pick in the draft.

Avalanche chief scout Rick Pracey told me last week that the No. 1 pick is still an open question, that the conventional wisdom of the 6-foot-4 defenseman Jones being the prohibitive favorite is not accurate. Pracey is a straight shooter, so his words must be taken seriously.

But let's get serious here: The Avs have to take Jones.

MacKinnon looks like the next- best player, a marvelous talent. Some say he has skill comparable to Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby. It probably will be very difficult for the Avalanche to pass him up.

But the Avs have to take Jones. Don't just take my word for it. None other than Adam Foote, in an interview with KKFN 104.3 FM last week, said the Avs' biggest need is a "one, two or three" defenseman. And with respect to Erik Johnson, Foote is right.

For a team to win the Stanley Cup, Foote said, it must have two top defensemen, two excellent centers and two big, powerful wingers. That forms the core, he said, and everything else is secondary.

MacKinnon is a center, and the Avs already have three pretty good ones: Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly.