Nathan MacKinnon: Prospect Profile for Colorado Avalanche's 1st-Round Pick

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJune 30, 2013

Jun 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Nathan MacKinnon is interviewed during a press conference for top prospects for the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Player: Nathan MacKinnon

Drafted By: Colorado Avalanche (1st overall)

Position: Center

Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 2 North American skater

Height/Weight: 6'0'', 200 lbs

DOB: September 1, 1995 (17 years old)

Most Recent Affiliation: QMJHL, Halifax Mooseheads



Nathan MacKinnon is a prospect who has been dubbed “The Next One” by some because of the similarities he shares with Sidney Crosby. MacKinnon has had a ton of hype surrounding him since he became draft eligible, and he had a great 2012-13 season.

During the regular season, MacKinnon tallied 75 points in 44 games, and he heated up during the playoffs. The Halifax Mooseheads won the 2013 Memorial Cup as the CHL champions, and MacKinnon scored 13 points in four games, including a hat trick in the final game of the series.

There are a ton of reasons why MacKinnon has the potential to become one of the next top prospects in the NHL, and a primary reason is his all-around game.


Full Scouting Report

MacKinnon is 6’0”, 200 pounds, so he isn’t going to rely on using his body to be a force while on the ice. Instead, MacKinnon will use his hockey IQ, his slick hands and sneaky shot to be an offensive titan. The Cole Harbor native is also an elite skater, which enables him to transition from offense to defense, and vice versa, with relative ease.

MacKinnon is one of the smartest players in the draft, and that is evident with how he views the ice and makes plays. It did help that he had an elite winger named Jonathan Drouin on his line, but MacKinnon has the tools to make magic with almost any player who can skate.

MacKinnon is a fierce competitor, and Tampa Bay Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray had this to say about him before the draft:

He’s a pretty interesting guy. I think if you talk to him he says he’s more of a power forward who has skill, but to a lot of other people, he’s a highly-skilled forward who plays with a lot of power. It’s a nice combination to have. His skating is elite. He’s a durable guy and he’s been a terrific player and I really don’t know what more to say. He can play the game any way you want him to play it.


NHL Player Comparison

Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. MacKinnon is a creative player who is skilled at making moves at a controlled pace with the puck. He is elusive and dynamic, and his game is very similar to Datsyuk’s.


NHL Timetable

MacKinnon has elite talent, and his conditioning and compete level will allow him to start his career when the 2013-14 season starts this fall.


Top-End Potential

At his top potential, MacKinnon is an elite first-line center who can top out at 85-90 points. In today’s NHL, only select players can hit the 100-point mark, so MacKinnon would still be in good company by registering 90 points.

His two-way offensive sense will allow him to maintain a near even ratio between goals and assists, but MacKinnon will make his living as an elite setup man. At the very least, MacKinnon will be an excellent second-line center, but either way, he should have decent longevity as an NHL star.