Avalanche Poll: How is Nate Progressing?


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Well, Colorado Avalanche fans don’t want to drop the s-bomb yet (slump) and are even more reluctant to add the expected “sophomore” in front. However, Nathan MacKinnon is serving as a micro-cosm of the Avalanche’s season — disappointingly unexpected.

Summer Hype

Nate came back from summer “break” in fighting shape. He’d put on 15 pounds of pure muscle and was boasting a nine percent body fat ratio. Sports reporters, fans and even fellow hockey players were amazed at how much improvement he was showing — especially considering he operated at a high level last season. He won the Calder Trophy rookie of the year, earning 94 percent of the vote.

Over the summer he also participated in the Tacks Challenge for CCM ice skates. Wearing 50 pounds of hockey gear, he beat Olympic gold medalist Charles Hamelin in a race of explosive speed.

Tacks Challenge:

Nate looked poised to come into the 2014-15 season just as unstoppable.


The Avs struggled in the preseason, recording only one victory, and that achieved in the shootout. Players talked about how they knew the difference between the preseason and regular season, but, as captain Gabriel Landeskog put it, “We can’t expect to flip a switch.”

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  • During that time, MacKinnon didn’t put a ton of pucks on net. It would have been difficult to do so, considering the Avs had real trouble holding on to the puck.

    Glimmers of hope showed, through. Occasionally Nate would put on a burst of speed to take him into the offensive zone. However, he didn’t manage to capitalize on any of those shots. He did earn three assists, though — not bad considering the Avs only scored 10 goals the entire preseason.

    While Nate did not get any regulation or overtime goals, he did record two shootout goals. The second one gave the Avs their victory against the LA Kings in the Frozen Fury Challenge. Nate’s hands were fine, then — and he handed the Avs their win.

    Regular Season

    Spoiler alert — no goals for Nate. Not yet. In six games he has just three assists. He’s also -4 — strange considering he’s been praised for his two-way ability. He’s not winning quite enough faceoffs either — he’s at 44.8 percent.

    Again, though, Nate’s problems are reflective of what’s going on with the Avs. Neither Matt Duchene nor Ryan O’Reilly has a winning faceoff percentage. Duchene and Alex Tanguay have two goals each, but other scorers only have one if any. The Avs D-corps, which was 6th in the league for scoring last season, has no goals — and, yes, that includes Tyson Barrie. All the Avs players are either minus in the ratio or at zero. (Seriously, being a zero is a good thing on the Avs right now.)

    Nate has put shots on goal — only Duchene has more after that impressive 10-shot night against the Montreal Canadiens. That came after Nate’s seven-shot night against the Ottawa Senators. Duchene didn’t score until the 10th — maybe if Nate had managed three more shots…

    So, Nathan MacKinnon is definitely not having the start to the season everyone expected of him. Is that indicative of a slump — or even the dreaded sophomore slump? Or is Nate’s slow start a reflection of what’s going on across the entire team?

    What do you think, Avs Nation?