As difficult as last season was for Nathan MacKinnon, what he experienced at the end, in Prague, more than a month after he and the Colorado Avalanche were finally put down for the count, helped make up for at least some of what went wrong in Denver.
MacKinnon was part of Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 2015 IIHF World Championship. He played on a line with Avalanche teammate Matt Duchene and Jason Spezza of the Dallas Stars. He scored a goal in Canada's 6-1 gold-medal clinching win against Russia. He scored nine points, including four goals, in 10 tournament games.
The whole experience was like a breath of fresh air for the 20-year-old forward who was good enough to win the Calder Trophy and help his team finish with 112 points as a rookie, but couldn't crack 40 points or lift his team even close to the Stanley Cup Playoff race in his second season.