Colorado Avalanche: October 2017 By The Numbers (Part II)

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon /

Welcome back to part two of the detailed look back at the October that was for the Colorado Avalanche. Today, the forwards will be discussed.

# 9 Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene, the focus of endless trade speculation, has simply donned his Colorado Avalanche sweater, and played hockey every day. He has 3 goals and 5 assists, and played all 11 games. He is a +4, a far cry from last year’s league worst +/-. Duchy also leads the Avs with a 56.6% success rate in the faceoff circle.

Most importantly, there have been few, if any, signs of the player who did not always play hard throughout the second half of last season. If an Avs fan were living in a bubble, they would have no idea that Duchene has been the object of so much speculation based on his play this year. Duchy’s line, with a number of various line mates, has often been the Avs best on a nightly basis.

# 10 Sven Andrighetto

11 games into the season, Sven Andrighetto leads the Colorado Avalanche with 4 goals. He also has 4 assists. Despite the offensive success, Andrighetto has not displayed the same chemistry with MacKinnon and Rantanen that he did last year, as that line has looked lost at even strength so far. He looked better playing with Duchy and Rocco Grimaldi in Colorado’s most recent contest.

# 13 Alexander Kerfoot

As an undrafted rookie free agent, it is incredibly impressive that Alexander Kerfoot made the opening night roster. From there, he has played all 11 games, has 3 goals and 3 assists. He has also transitioned from the wing to his natural center position. While at center, he enjoyed his best game, a 3 point night against St. Louis. Kerfoot is now squarely in the long term plans of the Avs.

# 14 Blake Comeau

Blake Comeau has been an incredibly steady presence in Colorado’s bottom 6 forward group. His line, often with Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto, has provided the closest thing to a defensive shut down line the Avalanche have had in years. Comeau’s physicality has also been on display, as he is second on the team with 21 hits. Blake has also chipped in 1 goal and 3 assists, in 11 games.

# 17 Tyson Jost

Tyson Jost has battled through an injury plagued early season. Those injuries have limited Jost to only 6 games so far, in which he has 1 goal and 1 assist. Early in the year, Jost was being used in a bottom 6 role, but before his most recent injury, Jost was being given the opportunity to play in the top 6, where he seemed more at home. He still is dripping with potential.

# 20 Rocco Grimaldi

Maybe the best single story of the early season for the Colorado Avalanche was the season debut of Rocco Grimaldi in the final game of October. Called up from San Antonio less than 24 hours earlier, Grimaldi entered the Avalanche lineup on Matt Duchene’s line, and promptly responded with 1 goal and 1 assist. He has certainly earned at least one more game in November.

# 22 Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson was just beginning to fit in to his surroundings when he went down to injury. Wilson recorded 2 assists in 8 games, both in his last 3 contests. He was developing chemistry with Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau, while beginning to thrive in a bottom 6 role. Now he may have lost his spot due to injury and the emergence of other Avalanche players. Depth: what a novel concept!

# 24 AJ Greer

Following a preseason injury, AJ Greer began the regular season with the San Antonio Rampage. Unfortunately, Greer has been unimpressive in 3 games for the Avalanche following a promotion to Colorado. He has yet to register a point, and has only been noticeable when chasing after opponents looking to start fights. It’s safe to say, the Avalanche expect more from him.

# 29 Nathan MacKinnon

Where to start with Nathan MacKinnon? Through 10 games Mack had a pedestrian 5 points, with a -7 rating. He was centering the top line, which had been completely ineffective, especially at even strength. His only goal came on a power play when a pass attempt bounced into the net off a Nashville defenseman.

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Then there was game 11. Nathan MacKinnon completely dominated the two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks. MacKinnon had 2 goals and 1 assist, and could have had more. His speed was fully on display for the first time all year. If the Avalanche are going to have success this season, and going forward, they need this MacKinnon to show up more than once a month.

# 34 Carl Soderberg

After being a healthy scratch in the season opener, Carl Soderberg has carved out a niche for himself on this team. He has centered Colorado’s best defensive line and has earned some power play time. He has shown that he can play in Jared Bednar’s system, which was a concern after last year. Sods and Comeau have really helped Colorado’s PK as well. Carl also has 1 goal and 3 assists.

# 37 JT Compher

Another victim of Colorado’s recent injury bug, JT Compher has 4 points in 8 games. He has also shown innate leadership qualities that were missing from this team last year. While it remains to be seen what Compher’s ceiling will be, I believe he will at least be a good two-way center for years to come. He may well be much more than that, and the hidden jewel of the O’Reilly trade.

# 57 Gabriel Bourque

Gabriel Bourque was injured a mere 2 games into his season with the Colorado Avalanche. He played a sound defensive game before he was injured early in his second game. It remains to be seen if he will get another chance with the Avs this year, as he may not feature in the long term plans of the organization.

# 64 Nail Yakupov

Through 4 games, Nail Yakupov had 3 goals and 2 assists, and it appeared that the Avalanche had found a diamond in the rough. Now through 11 games, Yak still has those 5 points. He has also been benched during two games, playing less than 10 minutes during 2 of the last 4.

Yakupov is the most exciting player on the Colorado Avalanche roster. At least once per game, while he is on the ice, something amazing happens. It may be something amazing for the Avalanche. It may be something amazing for an opponent. That’s just it. We don’t know. And that lack of certainty has recently earned the ire of coach Jared Bednar.

# 83 Matt Nieto

Matt Nieto took 3 minor penalties in the season opener, which resulted in his being a healthy scratch in 5 of the next 7 games. However, when Colin Wilson was injured, Nieto stepped into his place on the Soderberg/Comeau line. In his first game, he recorded his first career hat trick. More importantly he has been good defensively and on the PK since returning to the lineup.

# 92 Gabriel Landeskog

The Captain has been excellent so far this year, and he has truly led by example. Gabe Landeskog leads all Avalanche forwards with 19:11 TOI. He also leads Avs forwards with 2:58 TOI on the PK, and is second with 4:05 TOI on the PP. He has been effective in all phases of the game. Landy leads the Avalanche with 28 hits and has also contributed 7 points offensively.

# 96 Mikko Rantanen

Mikko Rantanen leads the Colorado Avalanche with 10 points in the team’s first 11 games. In an odd juxtaposition, he also is dead last on the team in +/- at a -7. Rantanen has been excellent on the PP throughout the season, as 6 of his points have been scored with the man advantage. However, at even strength, Rantanen’s play was lackluster through the first 10 games of the year.

Next: Colorado Avalanche October 2017 By The Numbers Part I

Then there was Colorado’s most recent contest. Rantanen was clearly the second best player on the ice, behind only his line mate, Nathan MacKinnon. That was an ice sheet that included the likes of Toews and Kane for Chicago. Rantanen had his best game of the year, and the Avalanche will need more performances like that from Mikko, if they want to challenge for the playoffs.