Draft Preview: Nathan Mackinnon

The Halifax Mooseheads center is the International Scouting Service's top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Nathan Mackinnon

Center, Halifax Mooseheads
6’0″, 180lbs
Born: September 1, 1995 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nathan Mackinnon is not Sidney Crosby.

Despite the fact that he is from Halifax, played for the same youth team, went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s and plays center, Nathan Mackinnon is not Sidney Crosby.

The Halifax Mooseheads forward, however, is probably going to have a little bit of trouble dispelling that theory.

As it stands, Mackinnon’s star could not possibly be higher heading into the 2013 NHL Draft. In his two seasons with Halifax, Mackinnon has been on a scoring tear, registering 153 points (63 G – 90 A) in just 102 games. In the playoffs, he has scored at an even more blistering pace – 74 points (31 G – 43 A) in 38 games. This season, he won the CHL’s Ed Chynoweth Award as the leading playoff scorer for his MVP winning performance in Halifax’s Memorial Cup Championship – in the Memorial Cup Tournament alone, he chalked up 13 points (7 G – 6 A) in just 4 games.

In the 3 seasons prior to Mackinnon’s arrival with the Mooseheads, Halifax had been a QMJHL doormat, twice finishing dead last in the league and finishing in the bottom five in the other season. Almost immediately upon Mackinnon’s arrival, the team turned it around. After winning just 52 games combined in the previous 3 seasons, the Mooseheads won 49 (including playoff games) during Mackinnon’s rookie season. With teammate and fellow prospect Jonathan Drouin coming into his own during the 2012-13 season, Mackinnon and Drouin were able to hook up and lead Halifax to a near rout of the entire CHL on their way to winning the Memorial Cup with only 12 losses (including playoff losses) in 89 total games during the season.

Mackinnon also spent two years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the boarding school in Minnesota whose former students include not only Marlon Brando and Brent Musberger, but also numerous NHL players including Crosby, Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews.

While Seth Jones is projected by most to be the top pick in the June 30 Draft, Mackinnon is actually the International Scouting Service’s top prospect. The ISS rates Mackinnon as not only the best skater among draft prospects, but also the best at protecting the puck and the prospect with the hardest shot. His skating, shooting and competitiveness are all rated as “Excellent”. He receives “Very Good” marks on size, puck skills, offensive play, physical play and hockey sense while receiving his lowest rating – “Good” – for his play in the defensive zone.

If Mackinnon has a weakness, it is his defensive zone play. According to Future Considerations, Mackinnon “often jumps the gun and exits the defensive zone early in an attempt to generate scoring chances and leaves his check open”. Mackinnon also is reportedly a bit of a “puck hog” – as McKeen’s Hockey puts it, he “can be a victim of his own industry at times – very hesitant to give up possession under any circumstances without making a constructive play”.

With a style of play compared to Jeremy Roenick’s, Mackinnon is projected to be a top-line power forward for the team that drafts him in New Jersey.

Service Rank
NHL Central Scouting 2nd (North American)
ISS 1st
The Hockey News 3rd
Future Considerations 2nd
McKeen’s Hockey 2nd

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.