Final Grades 2014: Nathan MacKinnon, #29

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Extraordinary. That's the first word that comes to mind when thinking about MacK.

To say that Nathan MacKinnon had a great year with the Colorado Avalanche would be like saying Winnie the Pooh digs honey. "Great" doesn't come close to expressing the phenomenal performance he had. Just forget for a moment that announcers across the league have over-used this stat. It's truth has power that we must recognize: a kid on the young side of 18 dominated in his first season in the NHL. He wasn't "dominate for an 18-year-old", though. He was dominate. Period. Roy gave him every chance to succeed, starting him in sheltered minutes at center than moving him top-six on the wing to maximize his talent. Whether he stays at wing next year or is moved back to center doesn't really matter; we saw an elite talent hit the NHL ice for the first time in 2014-2015. Enjoy the ride because it's going to be long and exciting.

Regular Season

Stats
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
82 24 39 63 20 26 8 0 5 241 10

Advanced Stats 5 v. 5
CF% CF% Rel GF% GF% Rel Sh% Sv% PDO
46.90% 0.00% 57.70% 6.80% 9.80% 93.60% 103.3

Grade

A

Staff Comments

c6hor8: In his first year, he was almost playing at Duchene's ceiling.

Sandie: I was so beyong pumped when the Avs told everyone they wanted MacKinnon. He was my fave going into the Draft. He did not dissapoint. Calder nominee deserves the high grade.

mfured20: For a rookie to come out and have the kind of year that Nathan had is really impressive.  He may well be a generational talent that will sit atop the NHL scoresheet for the next 15 years.  I are excite for him and his future with our team.

Mike: Pretty damn good rookie season.  A little streaky but earned his ice time for sure. Led the team in shots and had a completely sustainable 10% shooting.  17 points on the powerplay & 5 GWG's.  My nickname for him is total package.

Cheryl: It blows my mind to think what he will do in the future.

Playoffs

Stats
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
7 2 8 10 2 4 0 0 1 18 11.1

Advanced Stats 5 v. 5
CF% CF% Rel GF% GF% Rel Sh% Sv% PDO
47.30% 9.10% 50.00% 16.70% 12.50% 90.50% 103

Grade

A-

Staff Comments

c6hor8: Also looked great, but couldn’t generate anything on the road.

mfured20: This guy is a rookie??  His play did drop off as the playoffs went on, but so did the rest of the team's.  Still, he was often the most dynamic player on the ice (especially since Duchene was off of it), and he worked great with Stastny.  Thumbs up.

Mike: Thrived, at least during the home games.  So much good (edge-of-seat excitement, finish, OT hero, blazing speed), it completely overshadows the bad (41% in the dot, 10 missed shots, not good in his own end, disappeared in Minny)

Cheryl: Born for playoffs, he was a thrill a to watch. The funny thing is that, as some have noted, he did struggle a bit, especially on the road. But he scored 10 points in 7 games and had a GWG. Imagine what those stats would have been like if he hadn't struggled.

Preseason Thoughts

The entire section of preseason thoughts on MacKinnon can be found here, but I've compiled some of the more interesting tidbits below in response to the question, "Will MacKinnon join Stastny, Duchene, Tanguay, and Landeskog on the list of Avs rookies to score of 50 points?".

Mike: No. I think his adjustment period will be less "public" than Duchene's or some other high-profile guys due to the way I think he'll be used.

AJ: As excited as I am about MacKinnon as an Av, I think his rookie season is going to look a lot like Chris Drury’s.

Cheryl: I think he'll make it past, but it'll be close.

Andi: He's also probably going to see progressively harder defensive assignments as the year goes on to take some pressure off Duchene and Stastny's lines.

Sandie: I think, barring any injuries, he will hover around the 50 point mark.

Sean: You don't have to be a professional NHL scout to know that Nathan MacKinnon is a special player.

Cole: MacKinnon looks a bit stronger on his feet than Matt Duchene was at 18, a trait which could help him to avoid some of the early struggles in Duchene’s career as he adjusts to the increased physicality of NHL hockey.

Angelique: He may start on the third line, but things will likely change as the season moves along.

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