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NP.COM: Nathan MacKinnon At A Glance

by Jimi Russell / Nashville Predators

Leading into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30 in Newark, N.J., is going to provide an in-depth look at each of this year's top six prospects.

This week's edition looks at forward Nathan MacKinnon.

Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
6’0”, 182 lbs. • Center • Shoots: Right
Born: Sept. 1, 1995
Hometown: Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
Ranking: No. 2 North American Skater

Prospect at-a-glance: Perhaps the most NHL-ready prospect in the draft, MacKinnon was slowed by a mid-season injury, but still finished the 2012-13 regular season with 75 points (32 goals, 43 assists) in 44 games for Halifax. MacKinnon led Halifax to the 2013 President's Cup as QMJHL Champions and a berth in 2013 Memorial Cup.  The 6-0, 182-pound center claimed two major awards during the Memorial Cup including MVP and Top Scorer highlighted by his hat-trick and two assists in the Championship final. MacKinnon finished the 2013 Memorial Cup with 13 points (7g-6a) in four games.

Preds Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty’s player synopsis: “This guy is an explosive talent,” Kealty said. “He is probably the best skater in the draft – powerful lower body, he’s explosive and he can change the game with his skating. That ability really allows him to make things happen in open ice. He’s one of those guys that is really driven and focused to score. When you combine that drive with his skating ability he is a really dynamic player.”

“He rebounded well from a second-half knee injury, and the tenacious, goal-scoring, point-producing, explosive center is perceived as the prospect with the best chance of unseating Jones and the No. 1 overall pick,” TSN analyst Bob McKenzie said.

"Nate MacKinnon is a right-handed centerman that can play in any area of the ice," NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "With the way he thinks the game, there would seem to be a huge ceiling for this kid and what he can become."

"Nathan MacKinnon moves back to ISS #1 after answering any questions we had about him with his dominating MVP Memorial Cup performance", said ISS Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis told "I have personally been watching MacKinnon since he was a pee-wee, and while his skills have become top 1% in the world, what has impressed me most has been his growing maturity - the bigger the moment, the more hungry he becomes."

“When you think about Nathan MacKinnon, all you think is child prodigy,” TSN analyst Craig Button said. “He has been so successful at a young age. He is a determined player that wants to score in the worst ways. When you think about scorers and guys who are hungry to score – Nathan MacKinnon possesses that. He always possesses an unbelievable skating ability. It’s not just first step quickness; it’s his ability to cut to the net and not get knocked off stride. He has great hands in tight and he can maneuver the puck into spots where he can beat goaltenders. He is a player, regardless of the situation, that when the stakes get high he raises his level of play and produces.”

"He's very dynamic, very unpredictable," fellow draft prospect Seth Jones told "He has a lot of speed, he can make passes. He's a playmaker. He can shoot and score the puck like we saw in the [Memorial Cup] finals, [like] the first one he scored in the slot under pressure. He's tough to contain even down low; he can find areas to get to and score goals. That's what he does: He's a goal-scorer and a playmaker and obviously a great player."

Something you may not know: MacKinnon is the second highly-touted prospect to come out of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, following in the footsteps of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

Comparable player(s): Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers)

Related Links:
USAToday: Ranking the Top 10 Forwards in the 2013 NHL Draft
MacKinnon’s Draft Blog on MacKinnon, Drouin Lead Halifax to Memorial Cup Title
Top 2013 Prospects Examine Their Game
Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin Seek “Honor” of No. 1 Video: MacKinnon Mic’d Up Video: Craig Button on MacKinnon Video: Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin at the NHL Combine Video: MacKinnon Dazzles in the shootout
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