Colorado Avalanche Season Grades: Nathan MacKinnon

In our next edition of Colorado Avalanche Grades, we look at another superstar who scored an A+ last season, Nathan MacKinnon. Outside of my grading of a perfect score, he brought home some nice hardware at the 2024 NHL Awards.
2024 NHL Awards Red Carpet
2024 NHL Awards Red Carpet / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The next grade sheet to review of the Colorado Avalanche is Nathan MacKinnon, an absolute monster in 2023-24. He was incredible last season, and it showed when he brought home not only one but two of the highest awards to gain in a single season.

Even though last season was a bit of a disappointment in terms of a team standpoint, many positive things still happened that will directly help this upcoming season. One of those was MacKinnon's night on the NHL Awards red carpet. The 28-year-old was awarded the Ted Lindsey Award for being the Most Valuable Player, as voted by the NHL's Players Association, and then won the Hart Trophy, which is voted on by the National Hockey Writers Association.

Season Recap for Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon

The 2023-24 season for MacKinnon can only be described as perfect. He hit multiple career-highs, led the team in a boatload of categories, and led the entire league in some too. It was an MVP-caliber season for him.

With 51 goals, 89 assists, and 140 points, he was heavily involved with the Avalanche scoring. Additionally, he peppered opposing goaltenders with 405 shots on goal, which led the NHL. Over the past five seasons, only Boston's David Pastrnak has had more in a single year, with 407 shots on goal last season. He appeared in all 82 games for the Avs, and his presence was felt every single time he touched the puck in all of those games.

Now aligned with his former junior hockey teammate, Jonathan Drouin, for another season, it will be interesting to see how much their chemistry grows in their second full year together. Could we see an even better season for MacKinnon?

Grade: A+

This is a no-brainer. If I could find a grade higher than an A+, I would use it here. There was no Colorado Avalanche player better than MacKinnon, not even Cale Makar. There was not a single NHL player better than MacKinnon last season.

What we witnessed was nothing short of pure domination, a direct onslaught of speed and power. MacKinnon was near the league lead in speed bursts of over 22+ MPH, with 118. To compare, the next highest teams with speed bursts of over 22+ MPH were the Edmonton Oilers with 156, and the Tampa Bay Lightning with 125. He beat 29 other teams by himself in terms of speed.

After having a perfect season, what more can MacKinnon do next season? Have his expectations now become, "Hart or bust"? Or, does he go even further beyond, and lead the Avs back to the Stanley Cup finals and win it?

All eyes are on #29 next season and what he will do to replicate his MVP season in 2024-25.