Oct 8, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center John Mitchell (7) reacts to his goal in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
5. The New Fourth Line Is Awesome
Cody McLeod — John Mitchell — Jack Skille
When was the last time we could call the Colorado Avalanche’s fourth line awesome? I can’t remember. Marc-Andre Cliche is a name of the past, Jack Skille is the future.
Skille signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Avalanche — he knows his role and he accepts it, which is a great start. Instead of a career AHL player, Colorado now has someone who was once a first-round draft pick and is without a doubt a talented NHL player, who accepts to fill a different role than he was once meant to.
In addition to that, Mitchell is a great fourth-line center. He is decent at faceoffs (6 for 13 vs. Wild) and combines defensive play with good offensive skill. He’s played on literally every one of Colorado’s lines at some point during his career, both as a center and a winger. A super versatile forward who can bring scoring depth to the team.
The line is completed by Cody McLeod and I have to say: even McLeod looked surprisingly good in both zones against the Wild. Throughout the game, the fourth line spent a great amount of time in the offensive zone, playing nice passes and keeping the puck away from the Wild. Mitchell topped that off with a nice goal, though Soderberg was on the ice for Skille in that situation, and the assists went to Erik Johnson and Francois Beauchemin.
Next: The Powerplay May Work Again