Colorado Avalanche: Projecting 2017-18 Forward Lines; Predicting Biggest Point Producer

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 27: Nathan MacKinnon
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 27: Nathan MacKinnon /

The Colorado Avalanche are a couple months from starting their season, and may still have one big trade left, but the forward lines are pretty set at this point — let’s project the 2017-18 lines.

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene may still get traded this offseason; however, at this point it seems unlikely, so let’s project some forward lines with him involved.

The Avalanche actually look to have a somewhat formidable top six this year, as long as some of the young guns continue to take developmental steps. Furthermore, there are four new faces (some newer than others) joining the fold, who could play big roles in offensive production.

Sven Andrighetto looks to be on the right track after his 19 games and 16 points last season, an extrapolated 69 points over an 82 game season. While that’s unlikely to happen this year, 50+ points does not seem to be out of the question.

The Avalanche also took a risk on Nail Yakupov who is a bonafide sniper, and not much else. So, maybe he can be bring some goal scoring punch to the top six.

Tyson Jost will also look to make his mark in the top two lines, and prove he belongs at the NHL level. He has been working hard this summer, and his ultimate goal is to be an “impact player” for the Avalanche this coming season.

Finally, the Avs added Colin Wilson to their team as well this summer. He is probably going to spend a good amount of time on the third line, but could fill in for a player like Tyson Jost if he’s not ready for top six minutes yet.

Those are the new faces who will look to make an impact in the top six this season. They’ll be joining the core of the Avalanche, and hopefully the lines will be a good mix of chemistry and skill.

What Will The Lines Look Like?

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog are going to have some new players to play with this season, as evidenced above.

Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene will still center the top two lines, but their wings may be a little different.

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Hopefully both will be able to find some chemistry, and get back to producing at a higher level. Matt Duchene especially needs to return to form, but we’re all still waiting on Nathan MacKinnon’s breakout campaign.

I truly believe that the new faces will help to round out the offensive struggles this team faced last year.

Anyway, let’s hop to, shall we?

Line 1

  • Sven Andrighetto, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen

Line 2

  • Gabe Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Nail Yakupov

Line 3

  • Colin Wilson, Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher

Line 4

  • Blake Comeau, Carl Soderberg, Matt Nieto


  • Joe Colborne

That top nine has a lot of potential, and Lines 2 and 3 could theoretically become a 2a and 2b option. The top line is a combination we saw a lot of down the stretch last season, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be reunited throughout the year this year.

Finally, the fourth line is actually pretty legit, for once. Soderberg is definitely a lot of money down at the bottom, but he’ll be playing with two gritty and fast wingers, and may return to 30-40 point form.

Who is Poised for the Biggest Season, Production-wise?

It comes down to Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. While I believe that Nathan MacKinnon is going to have a big year in the 60-70 point range, I think that Mikko Rantanen will end up leading the team in points.

He turned it on to end the season last year, finishing with six goals and seven points in the final 8 games of the season. He was the only 20 goal scorer on a team with experienced goal scorers, and he’s just starting to figure out his abilities at the NHL level.

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Going into his sophomore campaign, I really don’t believe it’s out of the question for him to top the 30 goal mark, and 60 point mark. The kid has talent, and with a full season on a line with MacK and Ghetto, Rants could end up being a huge surprise with his production this coming year.

I also believe that his continued development will only help MacKinnon find more dominance at this level. He needs a line mate who can play with him, and who he can find that chemistry with — Rantanen is that guy.


The Colorado Avalanche are surely going to have a better offense this coming season, it’s inevitable. They can’t get worse, and with the signings they made — and the young players they’re bringing to the NHL — they brought more continuity to their lineup.

Now, the top two lines won’t have as much pressure to produce because the Avs should have some scoring punch in their bottom six as well.

It’s going to be exciting to watch Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher grow this season, and if they play on a line with Colin Wilson, they’ll have plenty of veteran support.

The point is, we should be in more games this season from an offensive standpoint, but our defense is still likely to be an issue. At this point, only three defensemen are signed. Thus, it’s anybody’s guess what those pairings will look like for the coming year.

We’ll wait to hear about Zadorov, and then follow training camp before pumping out projected defensive pairings.

Take it easy folks.