During the summer of 2023, Nathan MacKinnon officially became the highest paid player in the NHL, at least for one year. And during the calendar year of 2023, the Colorado Avalanche got their money’s worth.
With 2023 coming to a close on Sunday night, it became official – no NHL player registered more points during the 2023 calendar year than MacKinnon.
Here are your point leaders for 2023…
- 135 – Nathan MacKinnon
- 129 – Connor McDavid
- 121 – Nikita Kucherov
- 113 – David Pastrnak
- 111 – Leon Draisaitl
- 105 – Mikko Rantanen
That’s some pretty good company right there, and the Avalanche superstar is right at the top. For anyone looking for a specific breakdown of MacKinnon’s production, as well as some other numbers, here you go:
53 goals (2nd in NHL)
82 assists (2nd in NHL)
405 shots on goal (1st in NHL)
738 shot attempts (1st in NHL)
80 5-on-5 points (1st in NHL, next closest player had 59 points)
With MacKinnon on the ice, the Avalanche controlled 57% of the shot attempts at even strength, which were far and away the best numbers on the team. They outscored the opposition 102-64.
He was truly dominant, especially at even strength. Unfortunately, Colorado wasn’t able to come away with another Stanley Cup in 2023, which is all he really cares about, but that doesn’t take away from how good he was.
And he closed out the year with a bang.
December of 2023 is right up there as one of the best months of his career. He was so good that he broke the franchise record for most points in a single month. The previous record was held by Peter Stastny, who put up 28 points in February of 1981. With an assist on the game-winning goal on Sunday night, MacKinnon hit 29 points, giving him the record.
A lot of times we hear about Avalanche players breaking records from the franchise’s time in Colorado. Seeing MacKinnon break a record dating all the way back to the Nordiques days shows just how good he was in December.
In the next 24 hours, I anticipate the NHL will name MacKinnon the Player Of The Month for December. After all, he finished with more points than anyone during the month, and it wasn’t all that close. Right now, he’s one of the frontrunners for the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. His season is only just getting started, as we all remember how dominant he was from January to April last season.
The Avalanche know that they’ve got a superstar leading the way up front. The goal, at this point, should be to get him some help before the trade deadline comes. We’ll see if GM Chris MacFarland has anything up his sleeve before March 8.