Colorado Avalanche: Is Nathan MacKinnon The Early Calder Trophy Favorite?

By Randy Holt
Nathan MacKinnon
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche surprised a lot of people heading into the draft, when they announced early that they’d be selecting Nathan MacKinnon with the no. 1 overall pick, despite the availability of an elite defensive prospect, in Seth Jones.

Whether you agree with the move or not, MacKinnon has the look of a very good player in the near future for the Avalanche. He has elite center potential, which certainly calls the future of some of the current players on the Avalanche roster into question.

But as far as MacKinnon goes, what are the expectations for him heading into his first season with the club? As the no. 1 pick, and with the Avalanche looking for impact talent to try and get back into the playoffs, it should be assumed that he’ll be with the club to start the year.

What are his expectations, though? Is he expected to run away with the Calder Trophy and become the second member of the Avs in the last three years to take home the hardware, after Gabriel Landeskog did the same back in the 2011-12 season?

It could be unreasonable to expect that from him. Yes, he is the no. 1 overall pick. Huge expectations automatically come along with that. He has all the tools, of course. He has fantastic speed, excellent hands, and isn’t afraid to play the physical game. The defensive aspect of his game is coming along as well. He’s a complete player, which was part of the reason the Avs took him at the top spot.

But in this draft class, it could be tough to expect him to take home the Calder. This was a draft class that was absolutely loaded. Talents like Jones and Jonathan Drouin graced the top five, while a talent like Valeri Nichushkin was selected at no. 10 overall. There are some serious youngsters here, and while MacKinnon should be in the mix for the award, given his status as a no. 1 selection, it’s hard to expect him to run away with the Calder this year.

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