Dylan MacKinnon – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Dylan MacKinnon

2022-23 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 12, 2005
Place of Birth: Moncton, NB, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 187 pounds
Shoots: R
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible


Although more defensemen are starting to be quicker and offensively minded, there’s still a purpose for steady, stay-at-home defenders that can provide a punishing style of play. Halifax Mooseheads defenseman Dylan Mackinnon provides just that, as he is a very capable and strong defensive-minded player that can be relied on.

Dylan MacKinnon Halifax Mooseheads
Dylan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads (Ryan Molag / Langley Events Centre)

MacKinnon shines within his own end and being a difficult player to go up against when he defends the rush. No matter what situation he’s in, he doesn’t cheat on the play as he’s always in position and showing great gap control. He’s always providing a calm presence in the neutral zone and doesn’t panic within his own end. He has an active stick to anticipate plays and break them up, while also getting into the lanes to sacrifice the body. He has the presence and mindset to stay with the puck carrier to tie them up and negate any chance from unfolding. He provides great net front coverage and can box out players easily given his size and strength. He shows a consistent compete level and engages physically with open ice hits or along the boards.

MacKinnon is a strong skater for his size, showing great mobility in transition, but also great pivots when changing angles to stay with his assignments. As a result, he posted the best 30M forward skate time and the second best 30M forward skate with the puck time (both 4.082 seconds) at the CHL Kubota Top Prospects on-ice testing. He even had the second-best time (4.802 seconds) in the 30M backwards skate with the puck category. 

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With that, his long stride helps him to chase down loose pucks and his size allows him to get the advantage and win those battles in the open ice or along the boards. He has the speed to breakout of his own zone and lead a rush with great pace and control to push defenders back. When he has a chance, he will be patient to circle back, gain enough speed and attack swiftly and effectively, gaining entry into the zone.

MacKinnon doesn’t have the “wow factor” offensively and could look to utilize his shot more as he does have decent power. He was ranked 52nd in that category with 83 among QMJHL defensemen this season. He’s strong at identifying the shooting lane to get the puck on net for a rebound or scoring opportunity. When the play comes up to the blueline, he has the awareness to make himself open for quick give and go plays and does a great job to walk the line and find the open space to get a shot off. He’s great at activating in the offensive zone to step in for a one-time shot or even get a quick wrist shot off.

Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide

MacKinnon is also a strong and accurate passer, executing short and quick passes or a long stretch play out of his zone. He shows great patience with the puck as he doesn’t rush plays. He’s great at taking his time to curl back to assess his options before distributing the puck. He’s always looking up to spot his teammates in open ice to keep the play going forward.

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Dylan MacKinnon- NHL Draft Projection

Given MacKinnon’s play style and limited upside, it’s easy enough to see him as a third or fourth round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft. Although Maveric Lamoureux had questions about his upside and other aspects to his game in 2022, he was taken in the first round by the Arizona Coyotes. So really, anything can happen. But if he can round out his offensive game, there might be a team that could take him earlier than expected. 


“As he got more minutes, more offensive skills started to reveal themselves. He showed that he could open up forecheckers and slide the puck through them or carry the puck past them… His combination of skating, physicality, and his emerging puck-moving abilities make him an interesting project.” – David St. Louis, Elite Prospects

Latest News & Highlights

“A reliable two-way ‘D’ who has the ability to skate pucks or join the rush as an extra layer but generally focuses on his defensive responsibilities. He’s a low-risk player with above average physical edge and sound three-zone awareness.” – Jason Bukala, Sportsnet


  • Great mobility for his size
  • Work ethic and Physical play
  • Strong defensive game
  • Great in transition

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Offensive production
  • Puck skills
  • Have more of a shooter’s mentality

NHL Potential

If he can reach his true potential and continue to round out his offensive game, MacKinnon could be an effective second-pairing, shut down defenseman in the NHL. On the safe side, he could be utilized as a third-pairing defenseman who can eat minutes at even strength and in a penalty killing situation. Whenever you need to protect a lead in a key moment of a game or try and turn the tides with a huge defensive play, MacKinnon could be that player to shine. 

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk- 1/5, Reward 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 4.5/10, Defense 7.5/10

Awards/ Achievements

MacKinnon was a member of Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He finished the tournament with one assist, eventually winning a gold medal.

Dylan MacKinnon Stats


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