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.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.