The Colorado Avalanche have fallen on hard times. The franchise has been one of the league’s biggest embarrassments for the last few years, and things don’t appear to be getting better anytime soon.
With the 2017 NHL Draft approaching, should the team trade Nathan MacKinnon?
MacKinnon was one the most highly touted draft prospects in quite some time. After a rookie season which saw him record 63 points, his play has really tapered off. He hasn’t reached the 60 point plateau once since that year. This has left a sour taste in the mouths of Avalanche fans and the front office.
It’s safe to say that playing in Colorado is doing MacKinnon no favors. He’s probably the most gifted player on the team, one that includes Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene. But already going into his 5th NHL season, we’ve not gotten to see the MacKinnon everyone had hoped we’d get in 2013.
It makes every bit of sense for Colorado to trade MacKinnon. Of course, you’ve got other options such as the aforementioned Duchene and Landeskog, but it’s obvious that MacKinnon’s trade value is a lot higher than either of those two. You’ve got to wonder what teams would be willing to give up for a 22-year-old former top overall pick.
Colorado was shopping everyone during the NHL Trade Deadline, even if they deny it. We all know the team is desperate to rebuild the franchise. It stings, even more, knowing they weren’t able to even crack the top-three of the 2017 NHL Draft. Everyone on the team should be available for the right price, and MacKinnon would be at the top of every GM’s list of targets.
Quite frankly, MacKinnon has been downright awful for Colorado. Over the last two seasons, he sits with a -18 +/- and has combined to score only 105 points. Those aren’t top overall pick numbers at all.
These poor statistics shouldn’t fall all on MacKinnon though. A lot of his struggles can be attributed to his supporting cast. His rookie year, Colorado was finished with 112 points, and as mentioned before he scored 63 points. In addition, he maintained a +20 +/-. It’s easy to see that with the right talent and coaching around him, MacKinnon is a star in the league.
As the Avalanche struggle so does its best player. Putting MacKinnon on a winning team with a winning culture will set him on the right path. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be with Colorado.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9298