Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, a look one of the more rough and tumble defenders on the Avalanche roster despite having yet to play a game with the team: Cory Sarich
Who: Cory Sarich
Nicknames: Sars? I really have no idea on this and Google didn’t help me out like I felt it would.
How He Came to Denver: Traded with Alex Tanguay from Calgary for David Jones and Shane O’Brien
What he’s done: Well, since he doesn’t have a track record in Colorado, let’s talk about what he’s done elsewhere, shall we? While he isn’t an offensive dynamo (he has just one 20-point season to his name as a pro), he hasn’t needed to be. During his time in the league, mostly with Tampa Bay and Calgary, he’s been a solid 5th/6th defenseman who provides a rugged physical presence in front and does his job in his own end. He’s never going to be a Norris-calibre defender but he does his job and that’s all that you can ask.
Before the last few seasons in Calgary, he’d become somewhat of an iron man, playing four straight seasons without missing a game for Tampa, followed by an 80-game season before running into injury issues the last few years as he gets up there in age.
What he means to the team currently: The Avalanche have plenty of defensemen with offensive capabilities already in the system or ready to come up to Denver, so getting someone like Sarich was a must for a team that struggled so mightily on defense last season.
Big (6’4” 207), Sarich will be asked to keep the front of the net clean and give Semyon Varlamov every opportunity he needs to make saves. He’s always been a pretty solid stay-at-home defender and he’ll be needed by this very young, very not-good defense. Not to mention the fact that he’ll drop when it’s needed and you can’t have too much toughness, especially on a team full of young, talented players.
What to expect: Sarich’s contributions during the 2013/14 will mostly go unseen on the score sheet; he’s not that kind of player. What will show up on that stat sheet is a handful of goals, 10-15 points, and somewhere around 80-100 penalty minutes provided he stays healthy.
What won’t show up on the stat sheet are the numerous battles in front of the net, battles in the corner, and sound positioning he’ll use to make the Avalanche defense just a little bit better which doesn’t sound great but any improvement is great.
Sarich will go largely unnoticed but he should be a valuable addition to this Avalanche team and could prove the Tanguay trade to be more of a boon for the Avalanche than anyone thought.
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