Colorado Avalanche: Sakic and Roy’s Plans for the Team

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Nov 3, 2015; Denver, CO, USA;Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett (93) attempts to score past Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) and defenseman Nick Holden (2) and defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) in the third period at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensive Pairings

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Patrick Roy’s love of shaking up the forward lines corresponds directly with his reluctance to shake up defensive pairings. These pairs need a lot of chemistry to be effective, and Roy’s content to leave them intact as much as possible.

We saw this last season when Brad Stuart failed to gel with Erik Johnson — and then went out with an injury. Roy put Johnson’s old defensive partner, Jan Hejda, back on the top pairing. Indeed, even when Johnson was out after knee surgery, Roy kept the other defensive pairings the same and put Zach Redmond with Jan Hejda.

The same thing has happened this season as Johnson is on a very brief break with an injury. Roy put the new guy, Andrew Bodnarchuk, on the top pairing to maintain the integrity of the other pairings.

Prior to Bodnarchuk’s acquisition, I would have said Roy and Sakic primarily want only big defensemen. However, Bodnarchuk is only 5-foot-11. His acquisition shows Colorado is committed to strong-skating, puck-moving defensemen, which coincides with their offense-first game strategy.

Next: Shots on the Goalie