Blake Comeau Could Fill Big Role for Colorado Avalanche


The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Blake Comeau in free agency, as Jamie McGinn‘s direct successor on the third line. However, the role Comeau will fill could be bigger than just that on the third line.

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When the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Comeau to a one-year $700,000 contract in 2014, he was just supposed to be a cheap depth player. A forward that can play on either wing, log bottom-six minutes, add some grit to the lineup, and produce like a physical bottom-six forward.

However, it all worked out even better for Comeau and the Penguins. Unfortunately, it took Pascal Dupuis to get blood clots, which ended his season prematurely (Dupuis is blood clot free now), allowing Blake Comeau to step up and play on the second line led by Evgeny Malkin.

It came a little bit as a surprise, but Comeau turned out to be a very good fit on that line. He finished the season with 16 goals — only one less than Olympic Gold medalist Chris Kunitz, while Kunitz played 13 more games than Comeau — and 31 points in 61 games. However, Comeau did not finish the season on Malkin’s line, being demoted to the third line again late in the season.

Dec 5, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn (11) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The more you add to that story, the more it sounds like now-Sabre Jamie McGinn. In his four seasons with the Avalanche, McGinn was a third-line winger, who occasionally got to fill in in the top six — and he has never played a full 82-game season. So it just made sense to sign Comeau as McGinn’s successor.

Luckily, Blake Comeau seems to bring a little bit more to the table than McGinn. Firstly, he has more grit and plays a more physical style than McGinn. Secondly, Comeau actually tends to score more than McGinn, as Comeau has recorded an average of .4 points per game, as opposed to McGinn’s .35. Last but not least, Comeau is two years older than McGinn, bringing a tad more experience to Colorado. Comeau is also known for being a great locker room presence, and he was very popular among players in Pittsburgh.

After making almost the league-minimum for a season in Pittsburgh, Comeau is now on a three-year contract with an annual salary of $2.4 million. That’s a hefty raise, but it is still less than McGinn’s $2.95 million, and he earned it in his season with the Penguins.

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For Colorado, Comeau could also turn out to be a very important player. He will likely start on the third line with two of Mikhail Grigorenko, John Mitchell, Carl Soderberg and Dennis Everberg. However, if injuries occur in the top six, or if someone under-performs, Comeau will likely be one of the first candidates to step up into the top six.

Paired with a skilled center like Malkin, or in the Avalanche’s case Duchene or MacKinnon, as well as a talented winger like Gabriel Landeskog or Alex Tanguay, Comeau could turn into a valuable contributor.

The worst-case scenario with Comeau should be that he is a gritty bottom-six forward, who contributes at a more than decent pace, while being a valuable presence on and off the ice. Quite frankly, that wouldn’t be a bad case at all. He isn’t expected to be a second-line forward, but he is someone that can be counted on in case of injury.

Blake Comeau was signed as a gritty depth forward who can help in any situation, while leading the team on and off the ice. If he gets a chance, his role may turn out to be much bigger than that.

What are you expecting from Blake Comeau? Let us know in the comments!

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Next: Why Nate MacKinnon is not the Avs' Most Important Player

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