Where does Nathan MacKinnon's primary-point-production rank in the NHL over the past decade?
Nathan MacKinnon collected his fourth weekly NHL three-star honors this afternoon after posting six goals and two assists in four games for the Colorado Avalanche. MacKinnon’s eight points were one off of leader Alex Pietrangelo’s nine points. But as he’s been doing all season, MacKinnon has done a fantastic job collecting primary points. He scored six goals and added one primary assist to lead the league last week with seven primary points.
For those that are unaware or may need a reminder, a primary point in hockey is the total goals and ‘first assist’ that a player collects. The NHL officially started tracking secondary assists in 1935-36 and any player that collects a secondary assist receives one point just like the primary assist-getter and the goal scorer.
Heading into the final 10 games on the Avs’ schedule, Nathan MacKinnon has produced just 17 secondary assists this season. His primary point totals equate to 38 goals, 34 ‘first assists,’ and 72 primary points in 64 GP.
Since 2007-08 the list of players that have produced over 1.00 Primary P/GP is very small. In fact, it includes only five names (MacKinnon being the sixth) over and over again. Let’s take a look:
|Alex Ovechkin||2007-08||101 Primary Points||82 GP||1.23 Primary P/GP|
|Evgeni Malkin||2011-12||96 Primary Points||75 GP||1.28 Primary P/GP|
|Alex Ovechkin||2008-09||88 Primary Points||79 GP||1.11 Primary P/GP|
|Alex Ovechkin||2009-10||87 Primary Points||72 GP||1.21 Primary P/GP|
|Sidney Crosby||2009-10||87 Primary Points||81 GP||1.07 Primary P/GP|
|Patrick Kane||2015-16||87 Primary Points||82 GP||1.06 Primary P/GP|
|Steve Stamkos||2011-12||85 Primary Points||82 GP||1.04 Primary P/GP|
|Evgeni Malkin||2007-08||85 Primary Points||82 GP||1.04 Primary P/GP|
|Sidney Crosby||2008-09||84 Primary Points||77 GP||1.09 Primary P/GP|
|Evgeni Malkin||2008-09||82 Primary Points||82 GP||1.00 Primary P/GP|
|Nathan MacKinnon||2017-18 *||72 Primary Points||64 GP||1.13 Primary P/GP|
|Sidney Crosby||2007-08||57 Primary Points||53 GP||1.08 Primary P/GP|
|Patrick Kane||2013||47 Primary Points||47 GP||1.00 Primary P/GP|
|Sidney Crosby||2013||43 Primary Points||36 GP||1.19 Primary P/GP|
(Evgeni Malkin currently has 67 primary points in 68 GP this season).
Alex Ovechkin has been the king of producing productive primary point seasons during his illustrious NHL career. It goes without mentioning that his 601 goals are all accounted as primary points. But since 2008 Ovechkin has produced 412 assists of which 246 were ‘first assists.’
Ovechkin leads the way with the highest scoring primary point season in the NHL since 2007-08. That year, Ovechkin recorded 101 primary points in 82 GP, highlighted by a career-high 65 goals. His primary P/GP production checked in at a whopping 1.23. But this is actually not the most productive number since that year. In 2011-12, Evgeni Malkin led the league with 109 points in just 75 GP. Of those 109, Malkin scored 50 goals and recorded the first assist 46 times to total 96 primary points in 75 GP. This produced a 1.28 primary P/GP pace.
While MacKinnon still has an opportunity to continue to rack up points and climb up the board, it’s hard to imagine he adds 23 primary points over the last 10 games of the season to eclipse Malkin’s 1.28 primary P/GP pace from six years ago. Impressively, the only other seasons better than MacKinnon’s current 1.13 primary P/GP are a 1.21 pace from Ovechkin in 2009-10 (87 primary points in 72 GP) and Sidney Crosby’s injury-plagued 43 primary points in 36 GP season during the already shortened lockout year.
MacKinnon’s 72 primary points in 64 GP is the fifth most productive primary point season since 2007-08 with only future hall-of-famers Ovechkin, Malkin and Crosby producing better seasons.
What makes his production this season all the more impressive is the fact that he not only has the lone >1.00 primary P/GP pace this season, but last year’s leader Connor McDavid produced just 74 primary points in 82 GP. In fact, since the 2013 lockout, the only other player to produce over 1.00 primary P/GP is Patrick Kane in 2015-16. In each of the other seasons (2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17) the leading primary point producer was unable to eclipse that mark. The leaders of those seasons are listed below:
|Sidney Crosby||2013-14||70 Primary Points||80 GP||0.88 Primary P/GP|
|Tyler Seguin||2013-14||70 Primary Points||80 GP||0.88 Primary P/GP|
|Alex Ovechkin||2014-15||73 Primary Points||81 GP||0.90 Primary P/GP|
|Connor McDavid||2016-17||74 Primary Points||82 GP||0.90 Primary P/GP|
It’s quite obvious at this point that MacKinnon has turned heads all season with his offensive production. He’s almost single handedly leading the Avs back to the playoffs. While he has received support from his linemates Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog along with high-scoring offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie, MacKinnon’s primary point production leads the Avs by a wide margin. Rantanen comes in at second place with 51 primary points in 71 GP while Landeskog and Barrie are yet to reach 40 primary points.
There has been a lot of talks surrounding MacKinnon and the Hart Trophy all season long. Whether or not he wins it is still up in the air. But one thing is for certain about the young 22-year-old centerman. Highlighted by his two goals and one primary assist yesterday against the Red Wings, MacKinnon has been at the forefront of almost every major Avalanche goal this season. And with 10 GP before the end of the regular-season, he has a chance to reach primary point numbers the league hasn’t seen from anyone outside of the big three that have dominated the NHL in the shootout era.
(All stats from naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com. All photos from avalanche.nhl.com)
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