Is MacKinnon the next Crosby?
Projections show that Avs rookie will be among NHL's elite very soon
Nathan MacKinnon's fantastic performance early in the series versus the Minnesota Wild has understandably generated a lot of buzz for the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. He is the odds-on favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, and he has put up seven points (one goal and six assists) in the three games against Minnesota while skating more than 20 minutes per game.
But let's dive a little bit deeper: Exactly how good is Nathan MacKinnon now, and how good will he be?
MacKinnon vs. other 18-year-olds
Some of the most useful applications of goals versus threshold -- or any type of wins above replacement stat in hockey -- are population-based studies, especially those over many seasons, since scoring in the NHL has varied wildly by era. These stats incorporate era adjustments that can shed light on how a player is actually doing relative to the league, which is the most important question.
The following chart is the NHL GVT of first overall picks at age 18. The age filter is important -- the jump in performance year-to-year among the youngest NHL players is drastic -- hence Taylor Hall, Patrick Kane, Nail Yakupov, Alex Ovechkin and others are omitted from this peer group.
To read the full analysis of why Nathan MacKinnon is on track for greatness, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE NHL HEADLINES
- Penguins sign forward Spaling to 2-year deal
- Goalie Lehner signs extension with Senators
- Canes captain Staal has core muscle surgery
- King, L.A. agree to 3-year, $5.85 million deal