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Avalanche's MacKinnon primed to bounce back

by Staff

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is promising to be more aggressive entering his third season in the NHL.

"I feel faster, more powerful. I can say all that stuff, but I have to bring it to the games. But I do feel good out there," MacKinnon, 20, told the Denver Post.

"There's times to pull up and times to drive, and obviously I didn't drive enough. I know that. But you have to make a decision pretty quick out there and sometimes you're not going to make the best decision. I can drive more, for sure, and I need to get deeper when I do pull up -- it needs to be closer to the goal line. I have to at least try to get to the net, and if I can't, I'll pull up. But for sure, this year I'm going to try to be more aggressive."

MacKinnon, the top pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, had 14 goals and 38 points last season before missing the final 18 games because of a broken foot. He won the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie in 2013-14 with 24 goals and 63 points in 82 games, helping the Avalanche win the Central Division. He's played as a center and a wing, and is slated to start this season at right wing with center Carl Soderberg and left wing Gabriel Landeskog.

Avalanche center Matt Duchene told the Post he believes MacKinnon will have a bounce-back season.

"For me, when I went through that, you have to ask yourself tough questions and you have to reflect the right way," Duchene said. "You can't kid yourself.

"You have to look in the mirror and be realistic. Obviously, he had such a great first year. You're not going to fix what's not broken. But when you address the things that went wrong, and do it the right way, there's no way a player of his caliber can't succeed, and won't succeed.

"I have nothing but confidence that he's going to have an amazing year."

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