Looking at the Colorado Avalanche roster, I’m pretty pleased with the acquisitions the front offices made:
- Center Carl Soderberg
- Right wing Blake Comeau
- Center Mikhail Grigorenko
- Defenseman Francois Beauchemin
- Defenseman Nikita Zadorov
And those are just the players that are pretty certain to make the team. There are some nice prospects coming up the pike, specifically Mikko Rantanen.
A couple weeks ago, I joined forces with Kate Cimini of Bleedin’ Blue to discuss how our lines match up against the St. Louis Blues’. Turns out the Avalanche lines stack up quite nicely against theirs:
This week let’s consider the Dallas Stars.
Avalanche vs. Stars
Last season, the Colorado Avalanche owned the Dallas Stars. I’d say it almost wasn’t fair, but, hey, we took what we could get.
In fact, while it’s true the Avalanche swept the five-game series against the Stars, they didn’t exactly dominate them. Most of the games were close — either one-goal games or shootout victories — but the Avalanche pulled out two decisive wins as well.
While it wasn’t easy, sweeping the series was satisfying. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be that simple this season. I suggested the Avalanche go shopping in the Chicago Blackhawks store. Unfortunately, it was the Dallas Stars who did so, acquiring both forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman Johnny Oduya.
Oh, boy, that’s a pretty hefty haul from the Blackhawks store.
Dallas Stars Top Offensive Line
Blackout Dallas editor Josh Clark was kind enough to share with me his idea of the projected Stars top line:
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
He also assured me it was OK if that top line made me feel like passing out since it made Dallas Stars fans feel quite light-headed, too.
Yes, the offensive prowess of Patrick Sharp has potentially been added to the offensive dynamite represented by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Feel free to breathe into a paper bag.
And then remember one of the acquisitions the Avalanche made was Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin is slated to skate on a pairing with the Avalanche’s best defenseman, Erik Johnson.
Beauchemin plays a big game. He was an especially physical player on a physical team, the Anaheim Ducks. Johnson is a big man, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He can play a physical game, or he can burn opponents with his speed and puck handling skill. The pair together should be able to contain Dallas’s top line.
Likewise, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy is likely to put a checking line out against such a lineup. That line could be John Mitchell centering Mikhail Grigorenko and Blake Comeau. Grigorenko is pure offense, but Mitchell and Comeau are both known for their physical and defensive play. Best case scenario Beauchemin, Comeau and Mitchell shut those three down while Johnson and Grigorenko stick handle past, perhaps even scoring a goal. (I said best case scenario.)
Dallas Stars Second Offensive Line
After that ridiculously talented top line, the Stars come back to earth pretty definitively. According to Josh, the second line is projected to be the following:
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Except for Spezza (17 goals, 45 assists and a IIHF Worlds appearance), that line is pretty unimpressive. Hemsky only had 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists), and Nichushkin only played eight games (one assist). Those are players who’d be vying for third or fourth line duty on the Colorado Avalanche, not top-six.
I’m not sure why Josh didn’t put center Cody Eakin in that second line. Eakin had 19 goals and 21 assists for Dallas last year. However, even replacing Nichushkin with Eakin, this line is still something the second defensive pairing (Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov) can handle. I daresay Matt Duchene flanked by veterans Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla could score on this line.
So, did the Dallas Stars get more dangerous with the addition of Patrick Sharp? Yes, they did. Benn and Seguin were already a dangerous tandem, and adding Sharp makes that top line faint-worthy, as Josh suggested.
However, the offensive danger seems to stop there. Even if that line has a field day with the Avs — which I can’t imagine, but just in case — Colorado got bigger and more defense-minded in the off-season. The rest of Dallas’ offense is going to have a tougher time. Hockey is a team sport, and you can’t win by one line alone.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster