Alex Tanguay: Avalanche Star of the Week


Coming into the 2014-15 season, there was some question about how much the 35-year-old Alex Tanguay could contribute to the Colorado Avalanche. The question was only partially about his age — it was also the fact that he had missed all but 16 games the previous season with injuries.

Well, Tanguay finished third on the team for scoring with 22 goals and 55 points, so that pretty much answers any question.

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 ageless left wing Alex Tanguay.

Alex Tanguay Statistics

When you talk Alex Tanguay statistics, the one that jumps out the quickest is his shooting percentage – 21.2%. For a lot of the season, it was closer to 25%. He leads the NHL in shooting percentage among regular players. Those are some soft hands.

Of course, Tanguay doesn’t shoot a lot. He recorded 104 shots on goal last season, or 1.3 shots per game, 4.3 shots per 60 minutes. That made him 9th on the team, behind even defenseman Erik Johnson who missed half the season. That just shows Tanguay is more about accuracy than volume.

Sweet Alex Tanguay goal on his former team:

An example of why Alex Tanguay’s shooting percentage is so high:

Tanguay is about average-sized for an NHL player at 6-foot 1, 194 pounds. He’s not the most physical of players — not big on hits is our Tanguay. However, of the 39 blocked shots he made last season, one was an Alex Ovechkin slapshot with his face, which only took Tanguay out of the lineup a couple games. He’s a gritty sort.

Alex Tanguay’s statistics from Sporting Charts:

Colorado Avalanche left wing Alex Tanguay’s statistics. Photo credit: Sporting Charts

Alex Tanguay Role

Alex Tanguay is a veteran and one of the undisputed leaders on the team. He may not wear a letter, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a prime leader both in the locker room and on the ice.

That said, he was meant to take more of a supporting role this year. The understanding was that head coach Patrick Roy wanted him to lead the younger players. In fact, Tanguay spent some time on the third line. This wasn’t because of play on his part. Rather Roy wanted three lines with offensive threats, and he chose Tanguay to play veteran wing to the young center Nathan MacKinnon.

Tanguay was also very vocal with the media. From the beginning of the season, he talked about the importance of pushing hard from the start, from getting a good foundation to the season. As the weeks wore on, he became more vocal. He was never negative per se, but he also didn’t pull any punches. Presumably he acted the same way in the locker room.

At the end of the season, he maintained his laser focus. When asked how he felt about the fact that, for the first time ever, the Pepsi Center was going to be empty in the spring because the Denver Nuggets hadn’t made the playoffs either, he remarked honestly, “It sucks, no doubt. I’m not really worried about the Nuggets too much, to be honest with you.”

This upcoming season marks the last on Tanguay’s current contract.

Alex Tanguay’s Future

Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has pretty much said that Alex Tanguay’s future is up to him. If he wants to retire from the Colorado Avalanche, then he has a space on the roster. If he wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender, then Sakic will find the best place for him.

It’s said that captain Gabriel Landeskog is not critical in the locker room. I’m guessing he relies on veterans like Tanguay to say the hard words for him. Tanguay is the only member of the current Avalanche skaters who actually won a Stanley Cup with the team. He not only knows what it takes to win a Cup — he knows how it feels to do so in burgundy and blue. No one can question his criticism if he chooses to state it.

Alex Tanguay still has skill on the ice. However, part of his future is definitely for him to prepare the torch to be handed over to the younger generation.

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