Not every first overall pick develops into a star, but plenty of them do and so far Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is looking like he’ll be one of them.
He only turned 18 on Sept. 1, but he’s more than holding his own in his rookie season with eight goals, 21 points, and a plus-five rating in 37 games. Barring an injury, he’s currently on pace to finish with a points total in the ballpark of what John Tavares had in his rookie campaign.
P.A. Parenteau wasn’t around for Tavares’ first season, but he was united with the Islanders forward during his sophomore campaign. The two often played on the same line as Tavares developed into a superstar. Now with the Avalanche, Parenteau is getting some playing time with MacKinnon and sees similarities between the two former first overall picks.
“Nate is still learning the things that J.T. had to go through,” Parenteau told the Denver Post. “It takes some time. This is the toughest league in the world. But he’s going to get there. It’s scary how good he is already, and when you think that he’s barely 18, I mean, he’s going to be something when everything matures a little more.”
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy has been happy with MacKinnon’s development. Even in rough games like Friday’s 7-2 beating at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, MacKinnon could at least appreciate it as a learning experience.
He saw guys like Patrick Kane, yet another former first overall, and knows that with enough experience, the game will start to slow down for him too.
Until that happens, he’s still more than adequate.