Time for another Nathan MacKinnon update.
To answer our own Dan P.`s question from the last update: I`m doing this Danno because the Jackets have to get a little luck one of these days, right?
MacKinnon has done nothing to tarnish his status as top prospect in the 2013 draft, and the further we go in this lockout, the closer we get to a 2005-esque draft lottery. Assuming the same formula is used, Columbus is one of the teams with the greatest shot at top pick, and therefore a shot at adding MacKinnon.
I've been hesitant to go down this route thus far, but nothing's stopping me this time around- the Jackets have three first rounders in the 2013 draft. There are three Mooseheads players who will likely go in the first round. I'm not saying that the Jackets should use all of their picks on the trio, that's just not realistic. My point is, there is a good chance that based on the number of Columbus first rounders and the number of first round worthy Mooseheads, there is a strong probability that a Moosehead will pull a Columbus sweater over his head next June.
While MacKinnon would be the jewel of the bunch, if the Jackets are unable to snag him there are two other players who would be incredible additions to the Columbus pipeline currently developing in Halifax.
Zach Fucale is the starting goaltender for the Mooseheads, and stands a good chance at being the top goaltender chosen in June's NHL Entry Draft. The Jackets would be unwise to use their own pick on him in a lockout lottery scenario, but if he's available when the Rangers' or Kings' picks are up (acquired in the Rick Nash and Jeff Carter trades, respectively) he would instantly become the Jackets' franchise goaltender of the future. He would play another season with the Mooseheads, before embarking on a development cycle in the AHL. He would have stiff competition for the Jackets' starter job from Oscar Dansk, Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo, but that my friends, would be a "good problem".
Following the same logic I used above with Fucale, the Jackets would hit a home run if they could snag Jonathan Drouin with one of their first rounders. At this point, without 2012/2013 standings, or lockout lottery rules, we'll assume the Jackets' own pick will be top-three. Is Drouin a top-three pick? Probably not, but will he be around when the LA and New York picks roll around? That remains to be seen. Drouin missed some games due to a shoulder injury, but prior to, and since returning, he has been a dominant offensive force. If he's on the board when the Jackets pick outside of their top pick, they would do well to add such a fantastic playmaker.
In his first game back from injury, he scored a pair of goals and added two helpers, and hardly looked like a player who was on the shelf. He was the best player on the ice for either squad. He followed that game up by potting a hat trick against Chicoutimi a few nights later. Drouin is currently scoring at 2.3 points per game, while MacKinnon is scoring at 1.8 points per game.
MacKinnon is still the guy at the top of the list. He's starting to show more physicality, and his passing has improved steadily. Ditto for his faceoff ability.
MacKinnon's Current Stat Line:
At present he sits sixth in league point scoring, but is tied for the league lead in goals. He'll be quite busy over the next week, as he'll be representing the QMJHL along with Drouin, Fucale and teammate Brent Andrews at the Canada-Russia Subway Series, in addition to his regular duties with the Mooseheads.
Current Draft Rankings:
NHL Central Scouting: Listed as an "A" skater in their preliminary rankings.
International Scouting Service (ISS): 1st (October Rankings)
Future Considerations: 1st (October Rankings)
CHL Subway Super Series - 5th, 7th November, 2012 (QMJHL Portion)
World Junior Championship - 26 December, 2012 -> 6 January, 2013
CHL Top Prospects Game - Halifax, 16 January, 2013
Mooseheads Team Update
The Mooseheads are rolling. They currently sit at the top of the QMJHL standings with a record of 15-1-0-0. The CHL currently has them ranked second in their top-ten rankings, behind the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, who have a record of 16-0-0-1.
The Moose are on the road for the next couple of weeks, which will serve as their first big test of the season. They will be away from the friendly confines for four games, one of two four-gamers they have this season. There have been three games since my last update, of which I was at one of them- the game against Drummondville on the 24th of October. It was the Drouin show in a 6-2 win. The other two games- a 6-2 win against Columbus prospect Lukas Sedlak and the Chicoutimi Saguneneens and a 7-3 beat down of the PEI Rocket- showcased Halifax's offensive depth. Against the Sags, Drouin and MacKinnon were fantastic while against the Rocket (to be renamed the PEI Islanders next season) the secondary scorers and blueliners supplied the offense. Sedlak scored in the Chicoutimi game. I look forward to seeing him in person later this month when the Sags return to Halifax.
Zach Fucale has been a rock in net. He isn`t tested as often as some of his QMJHL cohorts, but he remains one of the top goaltenders in the league.