Welcome back for the fifth installment of my series on the top NHL fantasy hockey players of 2019/20, where I dive deep into how they performed this year and try to project what their 2020/21 season might look like. You can go back and read my previous article on Artemi Panarin here. Let’s get the basics out of the way:
Unofficial Attractiveness Score (as judged by my wife): 4/10
2019/20 was the third straight season of elite-level production from Mackinnon, ranking 5th, 7th, and 5th again in points scored in those three seasons. He has somehow completed seven seasons in the NHL despite being just 24 years of age, and should have no issue maintaining these levels of production for the foreseeable future. It is notable that Mackinnon’s rise to superstar status coincided with teammate Mikko Rantanen’s similar ascent, so we will examine Rantanen’s affect on Mackinnon and vice versa as well. Let’s dig deeper:
The first thing worth noting is Mackinnon posted a career high 78.15% IPP in 2019/20, a potential sign of regression. I think that it’s probably unfair to assume he will regress back to the 70% range he was in for 2018/19, as across his three latest seasons he has two marks in the high seventies (77% in 2017/18 and 78% this year) versus one lower mark (that 70%). I would guess he will settle into a mid-to-high seventies average for his career as with most elite players. Notably he had 52 seconds less per game with which to work. Mackinnon is a noted shot generator and posted a career high 13 shots/60 with an 11% shooting percentage. The shots/60 may come back down slightly but he could get a little boost in shooting percentage (particularly if Rantanen is healthy for all of 2020/21) to compensate. Mackinnon generated more individual chances for than ever before in 2019/20, but average or less in actual scoring chances (reflected in that more or less average ixG/60 mark of 0.99). This is actually encouraging, as it speaks to Mackinnon’s extreme consistency which is a hugely valuable asset to fantasy hockey players looking for a bankable asset in the first round of their 2020/21 drafts. On the power play, Mackinnon banked an 83.78% IPP, over 10% more than his previous high the year before. However with Rantanen out more than half the year, the Avalanche’s PP dipped roughly 3% in efficiency and Mackinnon’s overall power play points/game rate was identical to his 2018/19 rate.
So what about that Mackinnon/Rantanen relationship? Let’s refer to a graph from http://www.hockeyviz.com (a fantastic resource that I heartily endorse checking out) which seeks to quantify how players perform with and without one another:
So basically the player’s number circled in black represents how they performed with Mackinnon, the player’s number circled in red represents how they performed without Mackinnon, and the player’s number circled in blue represents how Mackinnon performed without them. Not a single player performed better in score adjusted shots for/60 without Mackinnon. And Rantanen? He drops from about 67 shots for/60 with Mackinnon all the way down to approximately 47 shots for/60 without him. Mackinnon only drops to about 63 shots for/60 without Rantanen. I can’t say it much more definitively: Mackinnon is the driving force of this team, and he doesn’t depend on anyone else to get his.
So what can we expect for Mackinnon’s 2020/21 campaign? More of the same. It’s a little bit criminal that Mackinnon doesn’t have a 100-point season yet, falling one point short in a statistically unlucky 2018/19 and not playing a full 82 games in 2017/18 or (obviously) 2019/20. I’d put Mackinnon’s floor at 97 points for 2020/21, with a ceiling around 112 points.
2020/21 Projection: 80 GP, 41 G, 63 A, 104 PTS
- Mackinnon is the most bankable point producer in the NHL after McDavid
- He’s scored at over a 100 point rate over the last three seasons and should get there in 2020/21
- Minor regression factors showing but getting Rantanen back for a full season would certainly help
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