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Road to the NHL Draft: Nathan MacKinnon

Memorial Cup Final Ho_Naso
By John Vogl

Nathan MacKinnon

Position: Center

Junior team: Halifax (QMJHL)

Born: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Measurables: 6-foot, 182 pounds

2012-13 stats: 44 games, 32 goals, 43 assists, 75 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 2 (North America)

Lowdown: It’s not a bad thing to be compared to Sidney Crosby. Hockey’s premier player was born in Halifax, played junior hockey there and became an NHL franchise player. MacKinnon mirrors Crosby on the first two, and there’s little reason to think he won’t join him for the final piece of the trifecta. The center can do it all, primarily because of his skating. No one in the draft has MacKinnon’s explosiveness. A stride or two is all he needs to separate himself from the opponents. Once free, he has sniper ability and magnificent passing vision. He may not become Crosby, but he should become the best player on his NHL team in a relatively short period of time.

MacKinnon leaped to No. 1 on many draft boards after leading Halifax to the Memorial Cup title. He made a mockery of his competition in the junior playoffs, recording 11 goals and 33 points in 17 postseason contests. He scored three times in the championship game with scouts watching every move.

MacKinnon doesn’t turn 18 until Sept. 1 and would have had to wait until the 2014 draft if he was born two weeks later. With a maturity beyond his years, he’ll be at or near the top of the 2013 selection process.

He said it: “I’m pretty interested in some of the teams I could end up with. Obviously, anything can happen on draft day. Teams could decide to trade their picks or anything like that, but it’s human nature to be interested in that kind of stuff, what your future could be.” – MacKinnon.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft June 30.


NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |