Nick Holden: Avalanche Star of the Week


In honor of Nick Holden‘s 28th birthday on Friday, let’s look at the lanky defenseman’s contributions to the Colorado Avalanche’s 2014-15 season. Holden started his NHL career with the Columbus Blue Jackets but came to the Avalanche as a free agent in July of 2013.

Every Sunday during the post and off season we’re going to take a look at different Colorado Avalanche players and the contributions they made to the team. So, let’s have a look at Nick Holden.

Nick Holden Statistics

Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden was a microcosm for the beginning of the Avalanche season. He was non-existant for the first three games, and then he was only noticeable because he started taking some penalties. By the middle of the season, he was leading the team in the minus ratio with -16.

However, just like the rest of the Avalanche, Holden turned things around somewhere around the turn of the year. He still finished -11, but that was an improvement. He contributed where he could, by blocking shots — 3.7 per 60 minutes. And even though he’s a tall drink of water at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he threw his weight around with 6.1 hits per 60.

Holden’s statistics from Sporting Charts:

Colorado Avalanche defesneman Nick Holden’s statistics from Sporting Charts.

Nick Holden Role

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Nick Holden spent all season on the Avalanche’s third defensive pairing, though he suited up a couple times as a fourth-line forward. Defensively, he mostly played with Zack Redmond and Brad Stuart. Holden got scratched a few games, but he still suited up for 78.

Holden seemed to learn a lot from the veteran Stuart, and his defensive play improved considerably as the season wore on. However, it was his offensive play that was most exciting.

For example, Holden came up big in some February road games. He scored the game-winning goal in the January 15, game against the Florida Panthers. He scored the game-tying goal just a few days later against the Nashville Predators. That one was a lot of fun:

Nick Holden also saw his role increase a little when cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson had arthroscopic knee surgery that ultimately ended his season. At the time, Holden fully acknowledged the importance of all the defenesman stepping up their game:

"“I think it’s going to be important for everybody to pick up a little bit. I don’t think any one guy can kind of replace [him] and do what Erik was doing. We can definitely all grab a little bit of what his share was and kind of lean on each other for that.”"

It’s certainly no coincidence that right around that time is when Holden’s play really started to take shape.

Holden’s Future

On July 1, 2014, Nick Holden signed a three-year contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche worth $4.95 million, according to CBS Sports. His annual cap hit is $1.65 million.

Holden could be trade bait. He didn’t put up stellar numbers in the 2014-15 season, but five goals and nine assists for a defenseman isn’t terrible — especially when he scored big goals.

However, it’s more likely head coach Patrick Roy is going to keep Holden on the third pairing. Holden may have struggled like the rest of the team struggled, but he worked hard and showed improvement.  Coach Roy likes that kind of gumption, so we may well continue to see Nick Holden continue to grow with the team.

Next: Avs Sunday Star: Daniel Briere

Next: Avs Sunday Star: Jan Hejda

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