Nathan MacKinnon is officially a Halifax Moosehead.
The 15-year old phenom from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia had his rights traded from the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to the Mooseheads in exchange for forwards Carl Gélinas and Francis Turbide as well as Halifax's 2012 and 2013 first round picks and the Quebec Remparts' first selection in 2013. Halifax acquired Quebec’s top pick in a trade yesterday that saw Adam Erne sent to the Remparts.
The Drakkar made the gutsy move of selecting MacKinnon first overall at June’s QMJHL Entry Draft. He was by far the best prospect available but all reports prior to draft indicated that if Baie-Comeau went through with picking him he would choose to play in the United States next year.
Now that he has been swapped to his hometown Mooseheads he is, not surprisingly, playing in the QMJHL next year.
“It was nothing against Baie-Comeau,” MacKinnon told Metro Halifax. “It was a decision to either go to college or the Q and the trade happened. Everything just kind of unfolded for me to go the major junior route.”
MacKinnon had 39 goals and 85 points in 34 games with Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota last season. He has often been compared to that other guy from Cole Harbour and is already considered a top five pick for the 2013 NHL Draft.
Obviously, having a player of this calibre in the QMJHL is good news.
"The fact that Nathan MacKinnon will play for a team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League next year is fantastic news for our league," said QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau in a release. "I would like to salute the excellent work of both organizations."
The deal has rejuvenated the Mooseheads fan base that has watched some terrible hockey over the past three years. But with a promising core of forwards featuring MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Andrew Ryan, Luca Ciampini, and Martin Frk, the Herd have set a foundation that looks similar to the one of the 2011 Memorial Cup Champions.
The Moose make their first trip of the season to Saint John on Saturday, November 12.