When any player scores six points in two playoff games (and three in each respective contest), people get excited. When that guy is 18 years old and those two postseason contests rank as his first two games, the praise gets downright bold.
Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that Colorado Avalanche wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon inspired Jeremy Roenick to throw the words “Hall of Famer” and “more dominant than Sidney Crosby” around. Roenick specifically compared MacKinnon, 18, favorably to Sidney Crosby when he was at the same age:
Out of curiosity, let’s take a look at what MacKinnon and Crosby did in their rookie years.
MacKinnon (2013-14): 24 goals and 64 points (+20 rating) in 82 games played.
Crosby (2005-06): 39 goals and 102 points in 81 games played (-1).
Of course, it was easier to hit 100 points during that 2005-06 campaign, so context might help. MacKinnon’s 64 points tied him for 34th in the NHL’s leading scorers while Crosby finished sixth in his season. Of course, Roenick would almost certainly counter with this: MacKinnon’s seven points already top the five Crosby scored in five playoff games during his second season in the league.
It’s one of those highly subjective discussions that can go around in circles, but the bottom line is that they’re both outstanding and that the Avalanche seem to have a special player in MacKinnon. (Is he the best rookie since Crosby? Well, there are plenty of talented players who would have something to say about that, including Crosby’s teammate Evgeni Malkin.)
In case you’re wondering, Roenick had 18 points in 20 regular season games as a teenager with the Chicago Blackhawks (and four points in 10 games that 1989 postseason), so he knows a thing or two about prodigies.
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.