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Look out: MacKinnon described as stronger, more explosive

Sep 3, 2014, 11:07 PM EDT

Unlike many other rookies, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon seemed physically ready for the big-time in 2013-14. At minimum, he boasted top-of-the-line speed, something that Patrick Roy raved about before he played a single shift.

Considering how strong a finish MacKinnon enjoyed last season, opponents probably crossed their fingers for a so-called “sophomore slump.” That’s always possible, but word is that he’s (gulp) in even more impressive shape heading into next season.

More explosive than this? Yikes:


Here’s your requisite offseason story disclaimer: it’s wise to take such reports with a grain of salt. “Bigger, stronger” can sometimes mean putting on too much weight. There’s always the risk that working so hard on offseason training may increase injury risks.

Still, the bigger picture view is still promising. The MacKinnon – Sidney Crosby parallels can get obnoxious at times, yet if the 19-year-old is as driven as the veteran Pittsburgh Penguins star, then the Avalanche have a right to be extra excited.

  1. lowenni - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Damn. He was so good last year, and amazing in the playoffs. If he’s strong enough to fend off defenders and fight hard for pucks (not that he didn’t before), and is even MORE explosive than before…the whole NHL is in trouble. I can see him easily eclipsing 80 points if these reports are true. Avs are gonna be absolutely sick offensively with Duchene and MacKinnon’s elite combination of speed and talent–quickly becoming two of my favorite players and the Avs one of my favorite teams to watch.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      i wouldnt put an 80 pt ceiling on him, i wouldnt be surprised if he was up there with 87 this year in the 90-100 range. they look like the same guy when working the offensive zone

    • mcphillthy - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      People criticized Roy and sakic for choosing him over Jones as the first pick but how can anybody question the decision now?! MacKinnon is an absolute beast!
      And he is still just a kid. He hasn’t even put on some real size and strength yet and he is already handling himself very well.
      I have always been an avs fan ever since the Forsberg and sakic days and this kid makes Tue avs even more exciting to watch!

      • jpelle82 - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        they say he’s 195 lbs at 6’…at 19yrs old! he’s a tank, good luck getting him off the puck. when he puts his head down and goes to work, you’re not getting underneath him, even if you’re strong you wont be able to because he’s quick enough to slip away. he’s probably good for another 10-15 lbs of muscle by the time he’s 25, scary to think how refined his game will be by then too. i hope he stays healthy for a long time

  2. shanekelleytx - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    And the kid is only 19 years old. He’s far away from his prime and he’s already bigger and faster than his previous top-notch levels, wow. That whole division has to be scared about what Colorado can do. Slow and old teams better watch out for their burners.

  3. jolimon99 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    I keep reading all these regular season predictions about the Avs falling back even far back or out of the playoffs. The Avs are not worried about where they finish in the regular season. Their focus will be on May this year so let these pundits predict what they want. Come April 15th, we won’t act like we’re just happy to be there.

  4. ihtfp13 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Lol. Avs fan spewing all over themselves! Takes a whole team fellas. So funny.

    • jernster21 - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      You mean like a team that won the central division that most didn’t even pick to make the playoffs? That kind of team? Oh ok, so funny. Lol.

    • welch3319 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      Are you serious???? 5 players with 60 + points and a Goalie that was 2nd in Veznia voting …… sounds like a team to me. Dude you know nothing stick to tennis!

    • avscup - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      ur right. check out the roster. Not bad. What team to you spew all over? Buffalo?

  5. ihtfp13 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Oops. My bad. NMac will be playing on all four lines. And tend goal on shootouts. Avs fan funny.

    • 19to77 - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      No, no. We’ve got the Vezina runner-up for all that goalie stuff. And Duchene can usually be counted on for a shift or two per game if Mac feels like taking a break.

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    I still love how Roenick said that MacKinnon was a more dominant player in his rookie season vs Crosbys rookie season. Mackinnon is good I don’t deny but again did he break 100 points? Nope Crosby did.

    • 19to77 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:09 AM

      Roenick never bothers to think before he talks. This is the same idiot who claimed the American Olympic team had a conspiracy against him because they didn’t take him in 2006, and that Mike Babcock hates American players because a 47-year old Chris Chelios wasn’t getting much ice time on the 2009 Red Wings. Oh, and at the time, Brian Rafalski was still skating on their top pair. But, hey, since when do facts get in the way of Jeremy Roenick?

      Seriously, give this a read:

      Take his comments with a grain of salt. After all, he’s a f**king moron.

  7. terrier92 - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    It is awesome when you see an elite talent apply themselves to their craft. In that way he reminds me of Traveras and Stamkos really awesome talented kids who work hard every day to improve. Really have to respect that. Kids gonna be a stud for a long time if he keeps it up

  8. LampyB - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    The important part is that under Roy and Sakic I see the Avs winning another Cup in the next few years. Mack will live up to hype and the team is strong.

  9. rippit2000 - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    I hope the kid is as good as advertised. He was worth the price of admission last year – if he takes another step forward this year then he’ll be right in the discussion as one of the NHL’s elite players along with Crosby, Toews, Kopitar and Getzlaf. The NHL can never have too many superstars – hopefully MacK is the next one.

  10. goodolejr - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    This kid is fun as hell to watch, and like someone else commented, it’s great to see elite talent like him continue to work to get better and better. It’s so disheartening to see someone with elite level talent just coast through the pros when you just know if they applied themselves just a bit more they could be that much more dominant. Props to NMac for that, especially since he seems like he’s not letting all of the praise go to his head. Then again, it seems hockey players in general do that way less than any other sports.

    If the Avs can fix their defensive issues this team is going to be absolutely dominant for years. Thank god they’re in the West. Go Flyers.

  11. chanceoffleury - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    The Avs biggest problem doesn’t have anything to do with the product on the ice. It’s their geography that’s the problem. They got better but so did everyone else in the west and then some. The Central is wicked. As good as they are and will be, I don’t think it’d be THAT crazy to see Chicago, St. Louis, and Minnesota edge them out. Not a knock against the Avs, but more an ode to how great that division is. The Pacific isn’t too much better either. There’s probably gonna be at least 3 playoff caliber teams golfing on April 15th. Because I don’t think Nashville, Vancouver, or Phoenix are gonna go down anything short of kicking and screaming if they even go down at all. Needless to say, I think staying healthy is gonna be HUGE in the west this year.

  12. nicofthenorthstar - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    As a Wild fan, I do not approve of this message.

    • avfanforlife - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      SO looking forward to the opening two games against you. Revenge is a dish best served cold – It’s very cold on the ice.

  13. guitarhunterdude - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    You mean a young player is progressing well? Wow, what a shocker.

    Yeah, MacKinnon’s gonna be a stud. Rub our faces in it, why don’t ya.

    • avscup - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      correction…IS a stud but getting studlier!

  14. skuba7 - Sep 6, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Mackinnon is a force, explosive and is going to just get better.
    But of course fans, writers/pundits and the like project the team to regress as far as where they finish in the Standings. It’s not realistic to think the Avalanche will Win the Division this season, no matter how impressive their offensive stars are. Chicago and St Louis are certainly better teams, and Dallas and Minnesota will be right there as well.
    In Goal, is Varlamov a great goalie, yes. Is he the 2nd (or 3rd) best Goalie in the League? No. So, to expect him to replicate the success of last year is unreasonable.
    On Defense, those reading this post know the issues. Is there anyone outside of Barrie who is expected to get better? Not anyone significant, anyway.
    So, like most NHL fans, I am excited to see the Avalanche young forward corps get better and better. But, temper the expectations and commit to post-season success (work on Defense at the trade deadline, better possession numbers, etc). Otherwise, 1st Rd exits may become the norm.

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