Colorado Avalanche Mount Rushmore of Centers

Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs
Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages
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2.) Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon is the next in line for Mount Rushmore. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native was drafted with the top overall pick in 2013 by the Avalanche and debuted in the NHL as an 18-year-old that season. He’s been excellent ever since, with his most recent two seasons stepping up even more. It seems like MacKinnon is getting old, but he’s only 28. He’s likely got his best hockey still to play. When conversations in 20 years come up about Avalanche royalty, it’s hard to believe he won’t be at the top of the list, if he still wears burgundy and blue for his whole career.

The past two seasons have been MacKinnon’s best by far. He had 111 points in just 71 games in 2022-23, with 42 goals and 69 assists. The Avalanche unfortunately had a premature exit from the playoffs that season. MacKinnon topped that season this past year, with 140 total points on 51 goals and 89 assists. That type of point total was in the Gretzky and Lemieux realm—an astonishing number.

Although he does not wear the C in Colorado, from observation MacKinnon is the clear leader. It was his will to win and dedication to his craft that molded the team to reach great heights in 2021-22, lifting the Stanley Cup trophy. During those playoffs, he led the NHL in goals with 13, and scored 24 points in 20 games.

MacKinnon won the Calder trophy as the league’s top rookie and was named to the All-Rookie team that same season.  He won the 2019-20 Lady Byng trophy as the outstanding sportsman in the league and is a two-time All Star.

MacKinnon is another player firmly planted on Mount Rushmore.