Nathan MacKinnon vs the Western Conference


We don’t like to say that Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon suffered from the dreaded sophomore slump last year. However, there’s no doubting that his 14 goals and 24 assists in 64 games weren’t quite what Avs Nation was hoping for. A broken foot took him out for the rest of the season in March.

MacKinnon also didn’t have a fantastic showing against the Western Conference. The Avs played the West 50 times, but MacKinnon missed 15 of those games. In the 35 he did play in, he scored six goals and earned 12 assists. Luckily he did do better against the Central Division than the Pacific.

Let’s see how MacKinnon fared against the West.

Nathan MacKinnon, No Show

Unfortunately, MacKinnon failed to make his mark against two of the most important teams for the Colorado Avalanche, the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild. Now, to be fair, the Avs as a team only scored five goals against the Wild. MacKinnon didn’t get in on any of them. He also didn’t get any points against the Jets.

Concerning the Pacific Division, he only played in half the games. He was absent points-wise against three teams — the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks. He only played one game each against those teams. Also, the Sharks were a team the Avs couldn’t beat either of the times they met.

Nathan MacKinnon, Meh

It’s hard to call any points “meh” when they were so hard for the Colorado Avalanche to come by last season. However, against three Pacific Division teams MacKinnon only earned a single point.

His best showing was against the Anaheim Ducks, who were a real force last season. He scored a goal in a 3-2 loss in November, during that dark period when we were all getting an inkling the season wasn’t going to go well. As a team, the Avs only recorded 18 shots on net.

MacKinnon also earned an assist against the LA Kings and against the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings assist came mid-February when the Avalanche were making a drive (with curves) for the playoffs. The Canucks assist was MacKinnon’s fourth point of the season, coming before he’d even scored a goal.

Nathan MacKinnon, Terminator

It’s hard to say MacKinnon dominated any teams in the Western Conference — weirdly, he did better against some Eastern Conference teams. His first multi-point night came against the Boston Bruins, his first multi-goal night against the New York Islanders and his first NHL hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nathan MacKinnon’s hat trick:

That said, MacKinnon did show some scoring prowess against a couple Central Division teams.MacKinnon scored a goal and earned three assists in five games against the St. Louis Blues.

MacKinnon earned two goals and an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks. Indeed, on January 6th he earned a goal and an assist — and the goal was the game-winner.

Nathan MacKinnon, Etc.

Nathan MacKinnon played in five games against the Dallas Stars. He scored one goal and earned two assists in those games. The goal came during a dominant 5-2 win for the Avs during which they outshot the Stars 47 to 24.

MacKinnon played in four games against the Nashville Predators, also getting a goal and two assists in those games. Unfortunately, his goal was the only one for the Avs in a 3-1 loss.

MacKinnon also earned two assists in as many games against the Arizona Coyotes.


Whatever Nathan MacKinnon did against the Bruins, Islanders and, especially, Lightning is what he needs to do against Western Conference rivals.

That’s just it, though. In his second season in the NHL, MacKinnon was still trying to get his NHL legs. As I observed above, he had highs, lows and disappearing acts. MacKinnon showed flashes of the talent that earned him the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year the season before. It’s now just a matter of combining that with the skill and grit it takes to make it in the NHL.

More Player Profiles vs the Western Conference:

Next: Was MacKinnon the Victim of a Media Prank

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