Guess post from Eldon MacDonald
Nathan MacKinnon – “Money” – Center/Right Wing – Canada
Vitals: Size – 5’11”, 179 lb.
Born: 1-Sep-95; Halifax, NS
Team: Halifax, QMJHL
2011-12 Stats: 58-31-47-78-45-(+11)-(+59) + QMJHL playoffs 17-13-15-28-12-(+12)
1 – Bob MacKenzie’s Pre-season Poll of Scouts
1 – The Hockey Writer’s Top 30 – Aug-12
1 – ISS’ Top 30 – Aug-12
1 – Future Considerations – Sep-12
First things first, catch Nathan’s September 29th, 2012 shoot out goal against Cape Breton – the goalie (6’6 Philippe Trudeau) who had an excellent game was completely mesmerized – watch the high leg kick to make the goalie think he was shooting and then just tucking it in. (Yahoo Sports)
Why is guy the biggest hype since Sidney Crosby and why is he so often compared to SC87 – a hype likely to be compounded by the lack of NHL hockey with the lockout. Check out the eerie similarities between the two:
- Home town – Cole Harbour, NS (Halifax suburb) – Check
- Athletic parents – Crosby: father drafted by Montreal; MacKinnon: father a marathon runner; mother was youngest swimmer in the Canada games.
- Prep school – Shattuck St. Mary’s, Minnesota – Check
- 1st overall in QMJHL draft – Check
- Pre-season favourite to go 1st overall in NHL draft – Check
- Gold medaled – Crosby – Vancouver Olympics and U20; MacKinnon – August 2012 U18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament
- Size – Crosby 5’11 – 200; MacKinnon – 5’11 – 179
- Build – Robust stocky build; very solid on his skates, aggressive edges – Check
- Acceleration – Ladies and gentleman: “Hold onto your socks!” – Check
- Dangle – All the way around or right through, baby; traffic not a problem – Check
- Shot – Ultra quick release, hard, accurate – Check
- Hockey sense – Born for the NHL; processes the game at another level – Check
- Will – Finds a way to get it done even when there is tough going – Check
- Rises to the occasion – When the game is on the line, he is the go-to guy and more often than not, the clutch performer – Check
You would think with all the similarities MacKinnon is very similar to Crosby on the ice. Well, such is not the case.
Crosby is a puck carrier with outstanding vision who thinks pass first but still has an elite shot.
MacKinnon is more a shooter of the Steven Stamkos variety and has good, but not elite vision. In fact, on Bob MacKenzie’s pre-season NHL draft ranking show, the lack of elite vision was the only significant shortcoming that NHL scouts noticed in MacKinnon.
Assuming MacKinnon continues to progress, his upside is that of a perennial candidate for the Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals in the season). He probably will never win the Art Ross Trophy (most points in a season). Maurice “The Rocket” Richard never won the scoring title either, but that does not diminish his legendary status.
Thus, MacKinnon’s game projects to the NHL as an elite goal scorer, but he will do it as Nathan MacKinnon and not in the mold of Sidney Crosby.
So how do you characterize Nathan MacKinnon? Two words immediately come to mind: “Money” and “Memories”.
When the game is on the line or when a gold medal is to be won, Nathan has that will and desire allowing him to elevate his game such that he is able to perform at a level that appears to be a little above mere mortals. For instance:
- 2011-12 QMJHL regular season game: The battle of the 1st overalls (2012 potential #1 – Mikhail Grigorenko versus 2013 potential #1 – Nathan MacKinnon) – The resul: 5 goals for Nathan, no goals for Mikhail. Could you cut him a little slack, next time, Nathan?
- 2012-13 QMJHL playoff series: Halifax (Nathan MacKinnon) versus Quebec (Mikhail Grigorenko). Nathan gave Mikhail ahead start as Halifax lost the first three games of the playoff series to Quebec, but proceeded to rally his team winning the final four games of the series in one of the most exciting comebacks in QMJHL playoff history.
- August 2012 Ivan Hlinka Tournament: After a rocky beginning, Nathan pulled his game together and scored a hat trick for Canada in the gold medal game and led the tournament in scoring – five goals and eleven points in five games.
- 2012-13 QMJHL regular season games glance:
- Game 1 – One-timer in OT to win it for Halifax, many missed seeing it because they were caught in a blink.
- Game 2 – two goals, two assists, +4, I guess you could say he was a little more than just OK.
- Game 3 – One goal, bad game for Halifax (6-1 loss) but Nathan played well – 17 for 22 in the face-off circle as he has really turned his game around in this area.
- Game 4 – Shootout goal to help win it for Halifax – the bedazzle almost caused the ice to melt.
What does a “Money” guy do: he produces “Memories”. Nathan, the money guy, has already caused many excellent memories and hopefully will produce many more. Here are some of the “Money” guys who have gone before him in junior hockey that Nathan has caused me to remember.
- Jonathan Huburdeau – He won the Memorial Cup in his draft year (2011) and was named MVP of the tournament. Did you notice this summer in the Canada-Russia series, Jonathan was almost invisible until the final game when the Challenge win was on the line. Jonathan then reappeared and was instrumental in the Canada win.
- Jordan Eberle – If you don’t know who Jordan Eberle is or the impossible things he accomplished in the World U20’s (2008-09 & 2009-10), I don’t know what to tell you.
- Jonathan Toews – “Mr. Shootout” of the 2006-07 World U20’s; I am sure Captain Serious bleeds ice water.
- Sidney Crosby – Yes, Sid won a World U20 gold, but my memory from junior hockey of him was the final game of the 2005 Memorial Cup when his Rimouski team played London. Sid was going to the net (to tie the game) and the whole London team including the water boy and trainer had to pile on him to stop him and preserve a London victory. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but not as much as you would think.
- Wayne Gretzky – My favourite memory from junior hockey comes from the “Great One” himself, Wayne Gretzky. I had the privilege of watching him live at 16 playing in the 1977-78 U20 World Championship at the old Montreal Forum. He played on a line with Tony McKegney and Wayne Babych. Gretzky ended the series with 8 goals and 17 points in only six games. In the first game against Team Russia, he completely mesmerized the Russians and Canada won. However, Team Russia must have watched some video as he was not nearly as effective in the second game and Canada lost.
The 2012-13 season is still young and hopefully the best memories are yet to come from this exciting prospect who is also one of the youngest kids in the 2013 draft. However, there is a lot of hockey yet to be played this year so surprises are likely to occur, good and bad. Will we be writing that Nathan is still likely to go one or two in the draft at the end of the season? He has his challengers, but “Money” MacKinnon likely has a more than a few memorable performances for us yet.