Frozen Pool Forensics: Nathan MacKinnon

Cam Robinson

2015-12-04

Why Nathan MacKinnon's emergence is for real this time.

Nathan MacKinnon has arrived. That other kid from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, has joined forces with Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog to create a highly productive line that is shredding the league up on a consistent basis these days. The trio is desperately trying to keep Colorado in the hunt for a playoff spot, and the stocky, speedy MacKinnon is the ace-in-the-hole for a franchise that has witnessed so much success in the past, but has stumbled as of late.

The 2013 first-overall pick teased the hockey world after a tremendous second half of the 2013-14 season – his rookie campaign – finishing up with 24 goals and 63 points in 82 games to go along with a plus-20 rating. That season, the Colorado squad defied the Corsi Gods and sprinted into the playoffs. The advanced stat pundits suggested a regression would affect the club, and they were right. Unfortunately for MacKinnon owners, he regressed right along with it. The sophomore slump was real and apparent. MacKinnon stumbled through injury and frustration, totalling only 14 goals and 38 points through a 64 game season. The Avalanche failed to make the post season and questions swirled around the team and around MacKinnon’s ability to be an elite point producer. Well, no one is questioning MacKinnon today.

Looking at his Player Profile, we can see that through 25 games this season, the 20-year-old center has produced 10 goals and 24 points to go along with a plus-seven rating. His 89 shots-on-goal (3.7 per game) are the highest average of his young career; pacing him towards the 300 mark. He is starting a healthy 58.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone – almost five percent more than his previous career high; his shooting percentage is up to 11.2 percent and he is seeing 3:09 of power-play time per contest. All of these numbers are adding up to one conclusion: Nate MacKinnon is staking his claim to a spot amongst the league leaders for fantasy production.

Taking a look at