Marc-Andre Cliche: Avalanche Player Profile


Colorado Avalanche center Marc-Andre Cliche is a journeyman forward, and that’s not an easy position. Head coach Patrick Roy has him tagged as the 13th forward, and by definition that’s a player who’s going to be a healthy scratch most nights. However, because of injuries, Cliche ended up playing 74 games during the 2014-15 season for the Avalanche.

Marc-Andre Cliche, the Early Years

With a name like Marc-Andre Cliche, obviously the center is of French descent — Quebecois, to be exact, from Rouyn-Noranda, a lake town in northwestern Quebec. Though his name looks like the word cliché, there is no accent on his last name, so it’s pronounced “Kleesh.”

Like all other Canadian boys — well, certainly the ones who ended up in the NHL — Cliche started playing hockey at a young age. By the time he was 16, he was playing for the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Cliche played for the MAINEiacs for four seasons. In his best season he recorded 37 goals and 45 assists for 72 points.

At the end of the 2007 season he played for Canada in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship.

Marc-Andre Cliche, the AHL Years

Marc-Andre Cliche was drafted 56th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers. However, Cliche spent two more seasons with Lewiston, before being traded to the LA Kings in a package deal.

Cliche finished out the 2006-07 season with Lewiston before joining the LA Kings AHL-affiliate Manchester Monarchs. With just one NHL appearance in six seasons, it started to look as if Marc-Andre Cliche were going to become a lifer at that level. Indeed, he became the captain of the Monarchs in 2010.

During the LA Kings’ 2011 playoff run, Cliche was recalled to the team as an ace in the hole. However, he didn’t play a single playoff game, so he was ineligible to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup when the Kings won.

The Kings placed Cliche on waivers before the 2013-14 season, and the Colorado Avalanche signed him.

Marc-Andre Cliche, the Avalanche Years

At the age of 26, Marc-Andre Cliche got his first real chance at playing in the NHL. Head coach Patrick Roy started Cliche out on the fourth line. In his second-ever NHL game, and first as an Avalanche, Cliche earned an assist against the Nashville Predators.

Cliche is a defensive-minded forward who has talent on faceoffs. Cliche has become a mainstay of the penalty kill. He played in 76 games his first season with the Avalanche, earning one goal and six assists.

Concerning faceoffs, Cliche took 735 faceoffs, winning 374 of them for a 51.3 percentage. That was better than all other centers barring Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly — meaning his faceoff percentage puts him above Nathan MacKinnon (47 percent) and third-line center John Mitchell (50.9 percent). Now, granted Mitchell and, especially, MacKinnon have lot more skills in their repertoire, but that statistic might help explain why coach Roy kept Cliche in the lineup most nights.

Cliche can also throw down:

Marc-Andre Cliche’s first-ever NHL goal came in the February 19, 2014 game against the Buffalo Sabres. Naturally Cliche was delighted by the goal, saying that scoring took the weight off his shoulders. Coach Roy praised Cliche:

"“Everybody was pretty happy for him on the bench. He works hard for us — the PK and blocking shots and it’s nice to see him rewarded.”"

Cliche had a long road to get to the NHL. However, he doesn’t regret the time it took, telling the Denver Post:

"“I think those six years are the reason I’m here. It was hard to be there for that long, but I’m grateful for what I have now.”"

A lot of people question why Cliche remains a mainstay in the Avalanche lineup. Besides his defensive skills and faceoff wings, there’s the fact of his journeyman work ethic. In fact, he’s harder on himself than anyone:

"“You can’t really relax ever. There’s always that little pressure in the back of my head, thinking ‘I can’t mess up, ever.’ But I think it’s good pressure at the same time, because it makes me play better. I’ve been enjoying every single day here, every second. It’s been awesome.”"

Marc-Andre Cliche has a contract with the Colorado Avalanche through the 2015-16 season. A healthy roster may mean coach Roy slots him back into the 13th forward position, or Cliche’s skill set may get him into the lineup regularly again.

Next: Avs Sunday Star: Nate Guenin

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