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Nathan MacKinnon, a star player for the Avalanche, may break a team record for points. He says he’s very confident about it

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Ball Arena in Denver on Wednesday, March 06, 2024. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Nathan MacKinnon has a real chance to not only set a Colorado Avalanche franchise record for points, but also produce one of the best seasons for a player of his age and NHL experience in league history.

The coach of the Colorado Avalanche, Jared Bednar, was trying to find a new way to talk about the greatness of his superstar center, while the player was busy working out on a stationary bike nearby.

Even though the place was very crowded, Nathan MacKinnon went straight to his postgame workout after scoring an amazing goal and an assist in a game against the Flames. The Avalanche beat the Flames 6-2.In the process, he set a career high in points.

Bednar mentioned that they often talk about MacKinnon's continuous improvement and drive to be the best player he can be, on and off the ice.

He's constantly looking to enhance his game and preparation, and he's not slowing down; he's getting better every year.

This season, MacKinnon has scored 41 goals and made 113 points in the 66 games he's played. He's on track for 140 points in 16 games.

Peter Stastny set the franchise record 42 years ago with 139 points.

The Avalanche are aiming for another Central Division title. They're also looking at MacKinnon's potential to set a franchise record and have one of the best seasons for a player of his age and experience in NHL history.

Mikko Rantanen says that if MacKinnon keeps playing the way he is, there's a good chance he'll set the record, and they need to support him as much as they can.

This is MacKinnon's 28th season and 11th year in the NHL. Most players start to slow down at this point, but MacKinnon has been setting new personal standards over the past two seasons.

He might win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer and could also be a candidate for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

Rantanen finds it hard to describe MacKinnon and his teammate Cale; he thinks they're remarkable players and enjoys playing with them.

Zooming out, MacKinnon's accomplishments become even more impressive.

MacKinnon is one of 19 players in NHL history to reach 113 points at age 28 or older. He’s only the fifth to do it in the salary cap era, joining Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06, Johnny Gaudreau and Jonathan Huberdeau two years ago, and Nikita Kucherov last season. Kucherov is currently six points behind him, so assuming both get to at least 124 points, it would be the two best years by a player of this age since Mario Lemieux had 161 points in 1995-96.

It's even more uncommon to achieve this after being in the NHL for over 10 years. MacKinnon is the 10th player in NHL history to score 113 points in his 11th NHL season or later.

Six of the other nine players who did it had their highest total earlier in their career. MacKinnon, like Mark Messier in 1989-90, Ron Francis in 1995-96 and Johnny Bucyk in 1970-71, is one of the only players in NHL history to score 113 or more points in their 11th season or later… and have it also be a career high.

MacKinnon has continued to improve even in the later stages of his career. He also continues to do things that astonish other skilled NHL players.

His goal on Tuesday night against the Flames was outstanding, even by his high standard.

Valeri Nichushkin passed across the ice to MacKinnon near the bottom of the left circle. The pass took enough time to get there that Calgary goalie Dan Vladar had time to move to his right and block the short-side top corner of the net — where almost every NHL player would shoot for.

MacKinnon’s shot beat Vladar over his far-side shoulder. Vladar’s reaction looked very much like a goalie looking behind him and thinking, ‘Wait, what just happened?’ He wasn’t alone.

“When you’re playing against him or even just watching, it might make you a little angry, just wondering how he does it,” Avalanche center Casey Mittelstadt said. “I don’t know if I can do that. You’re probably going to have to ask him that one. He’s a great player. There’s very few guys in the world that can do that.”

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