While NHL teams have taken a lot of talented first overall picks since the 2007-08 season, none of them have been able to win the Calder Trophy. With a little over a month left in the regular season, Nathan MacKinnon is poised to end that trend.
The 18-year-old Colorado Avalanche forward has opened up a 12-point lead in the rookie scoring race with 49 and he’s been expanding that gap lately.
MacKinnon picked up two assists in Sunday’s 6-3 victory over Tampa Bay to extend his point streak to 11 games. That puts him in a tie with Alex Ovechkin for the second longest rookie point streak since 1996. The longest was set by Paul Stastny when he contributed in 20 consecutive games during the 2006-07 campaign, according to the Avalanche.
MacKinnon’s latest accomplishments are an extension of what he’s been doing all season. He’s been remarkably consistent for his age as he’s never gone more than five games without a point.
From that start he’s adjusted nicely to the NHL. The faster pace, in his mind, is fun because it doesn’t give him time to overthink.
“First time I met him I realized this is going to be a piece of cake for him on his own,” Avalanche captain and 2012 Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog recently told NHL.com. “Off the ice you can’t tell he’s a rookie. He’s certainly one of the guys on the ice.
“He’s gotten more and more comfortable as the season has gone along and gotten better and better and has been one our best players over the past couple of months.”
MacKinnon certainly has plenty of room to grow, but his starting point is special.