NEWARK, N.J. – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club selected forward Nathan MacKinnon with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft held today at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
MacKinnon, 17, is the first player to be selected first overall by the Avalanche since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995. The Avalanche/Nordiques franchise has drafted first overall on three previous occasions: 1989 (Mats Sundin), 1990 (Owen Nolan) and 1991 (Eric Lindros).
“We are thrilled to be adding Nathan to our organization,” said Avalanche Director of Amateur Scouting Rick Pracey. “Nathan is a skilled forward with elite skating ability and speed. He plays an aggressive, attacking game and can elevate his game when his team needs it most.”
MacKinnon helped lead the Halifax Mooseheads to their first-ever Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and first-ever Memorial Cup title this past season. He was named MVP of the 2013 Memorial Cup after recording a tournament-high 13 points (7g/6a) in four games, which included a hat trick and five points in the final against Portland on May 26 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
During the 2012-13 regular season, MacKinnon collected 75 points (32g/43a) in 44 contests for Halifax, averaging 1.70 points-per-game. He finished tied for fourth on the Mooseheads in scoring and added a +40 plus/minus rating en route to being named to the QMJHL Second All-Star Team. MacKinnon went on to tally 33 points (11g/22a) in 17 playoff games as the Mooseheads won the league championship. Nathan’s 33 postseason points tied him for second in the QMJHL. He led Halifax in game-winning goals during the regular season (7-tie) and playoffs (4).
MacKinnon represented Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. The 6-foot-0, 182-pound center appeared in all six of Canada’s games at the tournament, posting one assist.
As a rookie with Halifax in 2011-12, MacKinnon led the Mooseheads in goals (31), assists (47) and points (78) while appearing in 58 games. His 78 points finished second among QMJHL rookies. MacKinnon led Halifax in playoff scoring as well, registering 28 points (13g/15a) in 17 postseason contests. Nathan was selected first overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the 2011 QMJHL Draft before his rights were traded to Halifax.
Born on Sept. 1, 1995 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, MacKinnon grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, where he helped his bantam team win the Atlantic AAA Championship in 2008. He then went on to play for Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota from 2009-11 before joining Halifax.
MacKinnon is only the third 17-year old to be taken first overall at the NHL draft in the last 26 drafts (since 1988), joining Sidney Crosby in 2005 and Joe Thornton in 1997. He is the first Halifax Mooseheads player to ever be selected first overall and the first QMJHL player to do that since Crosby (Rimouski) in 2005.