Can Nathan MacKinnon Be Stopped?

Photo By Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to offensive talent, but none better than forward Nathan MacKinnon.

As of this writing (Saturday night, January 6th), MacKinnon, 28, has 65 points on 22 goals and 43 assists. He also currently leads the team in goals, assists, points, shots (179), and overtime goals (two).

Here is where MacKinnon ranks among the league leaders:

  • First in points (65)
  • First in assists (43)
  • Second in power-play points (26)
  • Second in shots on goal (179)
  • Tied for second in even-strength goals (17)
  • First in even strength points (39)

As one can tell from above, MacKinnon has been one of the league’s best players this season. His terrific play is one reason why the Avalanche are currently second in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference, and third in the NHL.

MacKinnon also had quite a week this past week. On January 5th, the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) named him their player of the week as he had two overtime goals and led his club to four wins during the week.

On Thursday, January 4th, MacKinnon was selected to play in his seventh consecutive All-Star Game, which will be taking place in Toronto. He trails only Hockey Hall of Famer and current President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic, who was selected to eight straight All-Star Games, the most consecutive All-Star Games in franchise history.

MacKinnon was also named the player of the month for December. He led the league with 18 assists and 29 points in 15 games, which was a new franchise record as he broke the one previously held by Peter Stastny, who had 28 points (12 goals and 16 assists) back in February of 1981.

There are a lot of reasons why MacKinnon has had a lot of success so far this season. For starters, he plays with a ton of speed.

MacKinnon is one of the best skaters in the league. He uses his skating ability and speed to go around players, create room for himself, go hard to the net, and get open to help create offense.

Secondly, MacKinnon also has one of the best shots in the game. Yes, he has more assists than goals this season, but that does not take away from the fact that MacKinnon knows how to hammer a puck.

A perfect example of this was his overtime goal against the New York Islanders back on Tuesday, January 2nd. On the goal, he took a nice setup pass from defenseman Cale Makar, and he buried the puck past Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin.

MacKinnon also has excellent vision. His abilities to see the ice, find open linemates, and make great passes are elite and are also reasons why he is one of the best in the game today.

Lastly, MacKinnon is a leader. He plays hard every single night and goes out and leads by example.

With the team’s current captain, Gabriel Landeskog, out for the whole season recovering from a cartilage transplant in his right knee, MacKinnon has been the perfect role model for his teammates. While the team certainly misses its heart and soul in Landeskog, they still have a player like MacKinnon who brings so much to their hockey club.

If MacKinnon continues to play this way, he will certainly have a chance at several awards given out at the end of the season in June. Not only will he put himself in contention for the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer, but he will also have a chance at winning the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player during the regular season.

More importantly for MacKinnon and the Avalanche, his continued strong play will be a major factor as they look to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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