Colorado Avalanche: Reasons to be Thankful for this Team

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 16: Colin Wilson
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 16: Colin Wilson /

On this Thanksgiving, the Colorado Avalanche are giving at least one Avs fan reason to be thankful.

Every year since I became editor of this Colorado Avalanche fan site, I’ve written a blog of why I’m thankful for the Avalanche come Thanksgiving time:

Related Story: Giving Thanks for the Avs

Related Story: Why I'm Thankful for the Avs

Ok, I fibbed — last year’s catastrophe didn’t make me feel very thankful until New Year’s Day. Indeed, looking back, the post that came out on Thanksgiving was about how the Colorado Avalanche had two defensemen who had to be protected in the Expansion Draft. Honestly, I don’t think it even occurred to me to write a thankfulness post — I wasn’t thankful.

Indeed, since that last post, a lot has changed in Avs Nation and in my own personal fandom. I think this year’s post is going to be tempered by both — but make no mistake, I’m still thankful for my Colorado Avalanche.

The Colorado Avalanche have a MUCH Better Record than the Denver Broncos

The Colorado Avalanche have a winning record — as of this Thanksgiving, they are 11-8-1 and are tied for a wild card spot. The Denver Broncos are 3-7-0 and are dead last in the AFC West.

It’s ok, Broncos Country, you can come on over to Avs Nation.

We’re Back in the Old-Style Sweaters

I never minded the “unipron” jerseys with all their piping. And the thirds from the 2015 to 2017 were hot:

colorado avalanche
DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 16: Matt Duchene /

However, I’m nostalgic. I’m glad to see the Avalanche back in their Golden Age-era jerseys, even if it makes the players look a little, shall we say, boxy:

colorado avalanche
DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 16: Gabriel Landeskog /

Plus, I prefer the actual Avs logo over the Rockies one.

We Have Some Exciting Young Talent

I think most Avalanche fans are going to be especially grateful for the team because of that reason — we have some exciting young talent already playing on the team:

Plus Tyson Jost — more on him in a minute.

Those are some of our best players, and the elder stateseman of that group turns 25 today — our charismatic young captain, Gabriel Landeskog.

Add to that our “veterans,” Erik Johnson (29), Tyson Barrie (26), and Semyon Varlamov (29). We really have an exciting core plus ancillary pieces to celebrate this year.

Erik Johnson has Finally Been Made an Alternate

I’ve gone on record numerous times stating the only big mistake I thought Patrick Roy made was in not promoting Erik Johnson to alternate captain, and Jared Bednar exacerbated it last year by promoting Francois Beauchemin over Johnson.

Both coaches always praised EJ’s leadership. And now, finally, with little fanfare, Johnson has been named an alternate captain.

Nathan MacKinnon Seems to Finally be Taking the Reins

The 2013 NHL Draft was the first one I watched in its entirety. I watched the Colorado Avalanche player heroes Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy stride up onto that stage and make their first public move as leaders of the Avalanche — select Nathan MacKinnon first-overall.

MacK’s rise as the clear Calder Trophy winner through that golden season was a parallel for the rise of the team. And his gradual decline until his 82-game, 53-point season last year mirrored the team’s. We were all hoping he was more than a 50-point scorer as the savior of the team.

Well, he has 25 points in 20 games, which is better than a point a game. Right now that puts him on pace for a stunning 102 points over the course of the season. Even though that will probably correct itself, I’d be delighted with a career-high 70-point season.

That’s the player I was hoping got drafted by my player heroes in 2013.

We Have a Plan, and We Seem to be Sticking to It

More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche have been rebuilding since 2009 when they drafted Matt Duchene with their highest-ever draft pick at the time, third overall. He was supposed to be the core of a rebuild that included Paul Stastny and fellow 2009 draftee Ryan O’Reilly.

This past summer, eight years and a second-overall (Gabriel Landeskog) followed by a first-overall (Nathan MacKinnon), and it was obvious Colorado was going into full rebuild. They weren’t exactly tearing down the team, but they had stopped cobbling together a roster and had taken a 90-degree turn from the style they’d been focusing on.

The Avalanche seem to have found the identity they want moving forward, and they seem to be sticking to it. That means finally, finally, we might actually be building toward relevance again instead of just approaching the rebuild haphazardly.

Though Dutchy is Gone, Josty is Still with Us

Speaking of Matt Duchene, he will always be one of the most beloved Colorado Avalanche players ever. Even fans who are bit salty that he wanted to leave a perpetually rebuilding team for playoff contenders have to love the backstory (drafted to his childhood favorite team) and passion he brought to the Avs.

But he’s gone. I’m trying to think of him as one of my favorite students, who just has to move on after a time.

Now we have Tyson Jost. Maybe he didn’t have the backstory of getting selected by his favorite team, but Grandpa Jost crying at Josty’s draft and then again in his first game… that’s pretty heartwarming.

Additionally, Tyson Jost is just such a likable kid. Kind of goofy. Has that curl issue with his hair that Dutchy had, though Josty hasn’t sprouted wings from the back of his head yet. Just a big puppy on skates — I look forward to watching him grow into a man the way I watched Duchene.

Though Roy is Gone… Nope

Sorry, I tried. I’m still salty about that one.

I’m an Avs Fan Again

It was a case of Schrödinger ‘s fandom — I was both an Avs fan and not an Avs fan after Patrick Roy resigned. I explored in a previous post how I came back to Avs fandom gradually. Maybe it was always in the cards — it’s been a part of my life for over two decades.

And I’m thankful for the continuation. Being an Avs fan is a part of my identity — that should be clear by my tattoo. And my Avalanche license plate held tight by an Avalanche plate holder. And the fact that most people at work identify me as the Avs fan…

And I’m thankful for the Avalanche bringing me to Mile High Sticking. It’s been a bumpy road with us sometimes, Avs Nation — my opinions aren’t always the popular ones. But the Colorado Avalanche and editing MHS are part of who I am.

Next: Goals for Core Players in the 2017-18 Season

Next: Avs' Quarter-Season Review

How about you? Share below what makes you thankful for about the Colorado Avalanche.

Happy Thanksgiving!