Nathan MacKinnon, from an early age — and 17 is still an early age — had to learn how to keep the comparisons to that other hockey genius from Cole Harbour, N.S., at bay. For obvious reasons.
Regrettably, he typed while taking out his small violin, the fourth annual Jeff Skinner Rankings are not going to help keep down expectations. The annual exercise in equivalencies that involves Rob Pettapiece @robpettapiece using players' ages and point totals shows that MacKinnon's two-year body of work with his hometown Halifax Mooseheads is one of the best in recent memory. Recent, in this case, dates back to the turn of the century in 2000-01. Across the past 13 seasons, MacKinnon's NHL equivalency of 58.0 projected points per 82 games is the fourth-highest ever recorded, after Sidney Crosby in 2004-05 with the Rimouski Océanic and John Tavares after his 2006-07 and '07-08 seasons with the OHL's Oshawa Generals.
Synopsis: Nathan MacKinnon is good at hockey. Nate the Skate also becomes the first player to top the list twice, since he also finished first after his 78-point rookie season. What's notable, though, is the gap between MacKinnon and teammate Jonathan Drouin isn't that narrow. Drouin's NHLe of 50.2 is eye-popping since it was compiled in only 1½ seasons' work.
Top 25 is below.
Some shallow, fairly accurate observations:
— Portland Winterhawks' Nic Petan (fourth with a NHLe of 47.5) outpaces the London Knights' Max Domi (13th at 34.3) in the completely arbitary head-to-head matchup between 5-foot-9 playmakers. Consider that more fuel for the fire.
— Connor McDavid is also good at hockey. The 16-year-old Erie Otters centre ranks fifth with a 43.2 NHLe. Expect that to rise into the 50 range next season.
— Teenagers age, so the methodology here works against older players. Do not read too much into likely top-10 choice Sean Monahan having a 39.9 NHLe in his age-17 season and 31.6 this past season. Being in the top five in the 2012 JSR proves plenty. Monahan also went from having future AHL rookie of the year Tyler Toffoli on his wing to having, no disrespect intended, Joseph Blandisi, Sergey Kuptsov and Ryan Van Stralen with the Ottawa 67's.
— The 2014 draft class is well-represented by Prince Albert's Leon Draisaitl, Kelowna's Tyson Baillie, Kootenay's Sam Reinhart, Plymouth's Matt Mistele, Kelowna's Moose Jaw's Brayden Point and Sarnia's Nikolay Goldobin and Anthony DeAngelo (the only D-man in the top 25).
— Taylor Cammarata from the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks gave his league some top 10 representation by finishing eighth. Another point in the undersized centre's favour.
— Four players had a NHLe of more than 47. MacKinnon was the only one to do so in 2012. So what might one ultimately include? With all due respect to Jared Seth Jones, this is not a year to draft a defenceman No. 1 overall.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.