Alex Tanguay is Mr. Consistent For Avalanche


The first move Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy made as Co-Executive Vice Presidents of Hockey Operations was re-acquiring Alex Tanguay from the Calgary Flames. Tanguay lived with Roy in his rookie season was always a fan favorite in Denver thanks in large part to his two goal performance in Game Seven of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals.

On a young Avalanche team, Tanguay was the veteran leader up front heading into last season. Unfortunately injuries cut his season short as he was only able to suit up for 16 games. In those 16 games, Tanguay posted 11 points and the Avs had a record of 15-1. Had he been healthy for the entire year, and most importantly the playoffs, who knows how the Avs season would’ve played out.

A healthy Alex Tanguay was a big addition and that many people forgot about during the offseason. Re-united with Jarome Iginla, Tanguay is have a career resurgence at the age of 35.

He’s become “Mr. Consistent” of the Avalanche this year. With 12 goals and 12 assists, he leads the Avs in scoring and makes anyone he plays with better. Due to injuries and Roy mixing and matching lines all year, Tanguay was played with just about everyone on the team, but no matter who he’s with, his line always seems to be the most dangerous. When he’s paired up with Iginla, the two are magical on the ice. Right now he, Iginla, and John Mitchell are without a doubt the Avs number one scoring line.

Tanguay has always been known for his excellent vision. He’s the best playmaker on the team and arguably one of the best in the NHL. He’s always thinking one step ahead, passing to where his teammate is going to be, not where they are. He’s great at making short passes in tight spaces and utilizes the saucer pass to perfection. While he’s not much a shooter, he knows how to make his shots count. This year he has 12 goals on just 45 shots for a 26.7 shooting percentage. The essentially means that one out of every four shots he takes ends up finding the back of the net. If only he could get four shots a game, the Avs would never be shut out.

Tanguay’s best attribute isn’t necessarily a hockey skill. It’s his patience. The reason for his nearly perfect passes and his high shooting percentage is due to how patient he is with the puck. He doesn’t rush things when the puck is on his stick. He knows how to out-wait the defenseman or goalie before finally releasing the puck to a teammate or at the net.

His patience also pays off on the defensive end. Tanguay isn’t the biggest guy on the ice, but he’s great at stripping the puck from the opposition and then making the smart play. A lot of players, especially young ones, try to rush things on defense because their first thought is to just get the puck out of the zone.

Dec 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Alex Tanguay (40) handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsOften times that will lead to a turnover as they fail to clear. Tanguay knows how to wait that extra second in order to make the smart play and guarantee that the puck gets out of the zone.

There’s no doubt that Tanguay benefitted from years of playing alongside Hall of Famers Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. When you’re on a line with two of the greatest of all-time, it means you’re doing something right and you’re bound to pick up a little bit of knowledge. Now he’s putting that knowledge to good use as he helps keep the Avs alive in this long season.

While other Avalanche players have struggled throughout the season to produce the same numbers that they did last season, Tanguay is putting up consistent numbers and quietly going about his business.

He’s not a flashy player and he’s not going to get the headlines that the young stars on the Avs get, but Alex Tanguay has been the best Avalanche forward this season and I have no reason to believe that he’ll slow down.