Brad Stuart: Avalanche Star of the Week


Last summer the Colorado Avalanche traded a 2016 second-round draft pick and 2017 sixth-round draft pick to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Brad Stuart. The then-34-year-old shut-down defenseman was ostensibly selected as a partner for cornerstone Erik Johnson. However, Stuart spent the majority of the season as a veteran leader for the youngsters Nick Holden and Zach Redmond.

Every Sunday during the off season we’re going to take a look at different Colorado Avalanche players and the contributions they made to the team. This week let’s look at veteran defenseman Brad Stuart.

Brad Stuart Statistics

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Defenseman Brad Stuart ended up eating a lot of ice time for the Colorado Avalanche, averaging 20.34 minutes per game. While he started out the season on the top defensive pairing with Erik Johnson, he eventually partnered Nick Holden for the most part. He was also the Colorado Avalanche’s lead penalty killer.

Stuart was a high draft pick back in 1998, going third-overall — that’s center Matt Duchene level. He was scouted back then as a big, offensive defenseman. Stuart had a couple 10-goal years, but he’s mostly been good for 10 to 20-point seasons. With the Avalanche this season, he earned three goals and 10 assists for 13 points.

As a shut-down defenseman, Stuart shows his role in his physical play. Though only average-sized among Avalanche defenders at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Brad Stuart is a heavy hitter. In 65 games this season, he delivered 177 hits, or 8.0 per 60 minutes. He also blocked 134 shots, or 6.1 per 60.

A stat that is not often looked at is penalty minutes. Stuart may not be Ryan O’Reilly in staying out of the sin bin, but he only collected 16 penalty minutes this season. (Johnson collected more than that in the home opener.)

Brad Stuart’s statistics from Sporting Charts:

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Brad Stuart’s 2014-15 statistics. Photo credit: Sporting Charts

Brad Stuart Role

The Colorado Avalanche traded for Brad Stuart because of his physical style of play, especially in shutting down opponents. Stuart was part of the 2008 Detroit Red Wing team that won the Stanley Cup.

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. Stuart was once a Red Wing, and he’s the one who gave Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog a concussion a couple years back. We’re just going to let bygones be bygones.

Head coach Patrick Roy certainly did. During a late-season press conference, coach Roy deflected a question from sports writer Rick Sadowski of by saying, “I’d like to talk about Brad Stuart, if you don’t mind.”

One of the aspects of Stuart’s game that Roy especially praised was his leadership in relation to Nick Holden:

"“I think he’s been helping Holden a lot. The last month, Nick has been playing a lot better and I think a big part of it is because the way Brad has been playing. He’s talking to him, he’s helping him a lot.”"

Coach Roy also values Stuart’s defensive play.

Then there was that time Stuart accidentally scored against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford:

Brad Stuart’s Future

The Colorado Avalanche extended Brad Stuart’s contract at the beginning of the season, so he’s under contract for two more years.

If Patrick Roy gets his way — and he usually does — Stuart will definitely play out those games in burgundy and blue. In the same press conference, Roy called Stuart “a great addition to our team.” He added:

"“The fact that we signed him to a two-year extension makes it even more important because he’s a guy who brings a lot to our team.”"

In addition to leadership, Roy likes how Stuart finishes his checks and works hard:

"“I feel like he’s bringing some consistency in our game that helps our team. He’s been a true warrior for our team — he’s a true pro.”"

That doesn’t sound like Roy is vacillating on Stuart’s staying with the team.

The Colorado Avalanche have some exciting defensive prospects coming up in the system, including Chris Bigras, Duncan Siemens and Mason Geertsen. Stuart did such a good job being a leader for Nick Holden — coach Roy may have it in mind to give him the same role with those youngsters.

Next: Avs Player Profile: Ryan Wilson

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