Sep 22, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin (23) passes the puck defended by Colorado Avalanche center Brad Malone (42) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Avalanche have always been an offense-first team. That profile has brought them under criticism, especially with the advent of the fancy stats.
Well, I won’t say the Avalanche are no longer an offense-based team. However, they have definitely paid some attention to the blueline. Among other acquisitions, they signed defenseman Francois Beauchemin, formerly of the Anaheim Ducks. Francois Beauchemin is projected to be matched with Erik Johnson on the top pairing.
The Colorado Avalanche had one of the worst shots-against ratios in the NHL last season. Head coach Patrick Roy has stated limiting shots against still isn’t the defense’s top priority — he believes more in limiting opponents’ scoring chances.
Johnson and Beauchemin should see the top minutes against the top lines. That means limiting the scoring chances from the best shooters in the NHL will likely fall under their purview. Both players were in that role last year. Let’s see how they might do this year now that they’re bound to be playing together.