Evaluating the Forward Corps
The Colorado Avalanche want to move toward a speedy skill game. They obviously need fast forwards with excellent puck skills. In fact, their first two lines should be comprised primarily of speedy forwards with different ancialliary skills.
Here’s what the team has so far:
- Nathan MacKinnon: Fleet on the straightaway, agile, strong offensive instincts
- Gabriel Landeskog: Power forward, solid skating skills, bangs in pucks from in front of the net, leader
- Matt Duchene: Speedy in all aspects of skating, excellent playmaker, solid on the puck, strong offensive skills
- Mikko Rantanen: Versatile playmaker, long stride, good offensive instincts
- J.T. Compher: Good skater, two-way acumen, solid work ethic
- A.J. Greer: Agile skater, power forward, solid work ethic
- Tyson Jost: Bulldog on the forecheck, crafty goal scorer, thinks and plays at a fast tempo
That’s the core of the Colorado Avalanche youth movement on forward. JT Compher, AJ Greer and Tyson aren’t guaranteed spots on the roster right out of training camp, but each of them has a good shot.
Right now this cast doesn’t have adequate support in the likes of Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg. The former should be banished to the locker room and the latter to the checking line.
Speaking of the checking line, Joe Colborne has one more year left on his contract. He’s a gigantic, versatile power forward. He’s relatively fast by virtue of his stride, but he needs to relegated to the Soderberg line.
The Colorado Avalanche have a couple pending restricted free agents in left wing Sven Andrighetto and left wing Matthew Nieto. Andrighetto is a dynamic, skilled player who can make creative plays. Nieto is an industrious, two-way forward with good hockey sense.
Both of them are better complements to the Avs forward core than Comeau or Soderberg. I could see them being good contributors on the third and fourth lines. Hopefully Colorado qualifies both of them.