Nathan Mackinnon is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-29 rating in 32 games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. As a rookie, MacKinnon finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres) in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon, who will serve as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax on Wednesday, recently represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He has offered to provide NHL.com with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.
I would just like to start off by talking about how exciting my past month has been.
I was very fortunate to be invited to the Team Canada World Junior try-out camp and later managed to earn a roster spot on the team. The experience was amazing playing on a stage like that. Obviously, the result isn't what we expected out of ourselves but you can't take that experience away from us. For me, it was an adjustment coming into a checking role. [Canada coach] Steve Spott asked me to provide energy and physicality for the team and I was ready to do that. I wanted to help the boys in that aspect because that was my role.
It was cool to see certain guys step up. One of those players happened to be my close friend, Jonathan Drouin. I have been asked many times if Jonathan elevated his game for the World Juniors, but to me he just continued his dominating play from Halifax and carried it over to the big stage at World Juniors. He really made the difference in some games and helped the team get some wins.
Another exciting event coming up is the Top Prospects Game on Wednesday. The part that excites me the most is seeing a lot of the guys I had the opportunity to play with at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Along with the speed and competiveness, it should be a very exciting game.
Returning to Halifax after World Juniors has been great. We made a couple trades but none that will affect the chemistry of our hockey club. We are very deep and have four lines that can play against any line on another team. My expectations are very high for the second half. But, wins don't come with hard work and just overall good hockey. It starts in practice and you must have that intense and up-tempo mindset that will carry over to games.
Thank you for reading my blog and check back next week when I'll file another report from the Top Prospects Game in Halifax!
Follow Nathan MacKinnon on Twitter at: @Mackinnon9