Colorado Avalanche: Reflecting on the Season so Far

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates a goal by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets on November 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates a goal by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets on November 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /
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Two months into the season, and the Colorado Avalanche have already faced their fair shares of ups and downs. This should ultimately make them stronger.

It’s a good time to reflect on the Colorado Avalanche’s 2017-2018 season so far. There have been both good and bad aspects.

Of course, the biggest story of the season was the blockbuster Matt Duchene trade. After literal years of speculation, Colorado traded the talented center in a three-team deal:

  • Colorado Avalanche sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa Senators
  • Ottawa Senators sent Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond, 2018 1st-round draft pick, 2019 3rd-round draft pick to Colorado Avalanche
  • Ottawa Senators sent Kyle Turris to Nashville Predators
  • Nashville Predators sent Samuel GirardVladislav Kamenev, 2nd-round draft pick to Colorado Avalanche

Sam Girard has already slotted in with the team — on the top pairing, no less. Vlad Kamenev had his arm broken in his first period as an Avs player and is out for many weeks. Andrew Hammond sat backup to Jonathan Bernier for a few games while Semyon Varlamov recovered from an undisclosed illness.

Fans and teammates had to deal with saying goodbye to a long time Avalanche player when Duchene was traded. However, we console ourselves with the great return we got for the talented center.

The Colorado Avalanche have also had to deal with their fair share of injuries. One of the most significant was to rookie Tyson Jost, who missed a month of hockey while recovering from a lower body injury. He also spent five games with the San Antionio Rampage to get his conditioning back up.

Defenseman Patrik Nemeth, a waiver claim from the Dallas Stars, has been in and out of the lineup with an injury. Colin Wilson, whom the Avs acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators, has also been in and out with injury. They’ve played 12 games and 16 games (out of 23) respectively.

The Avalanche are also two games into a four-game loss of Gabriel Landeskog, whom the Department of Player Safety suspended. That means losing his leadership and contributions on and off the ice. Landeskog has shown some growth in play this year.

Those are big losses. Along with changes in lineup frequently and players coming up from the Rampage.  Colorado has discovered a good young rookie line. That includes Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot. It’s a young fast line that gives fans a glimpse into the future. They even live together — talk about creating chemistry.

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Colorado found itself in need of a win on Wednesday when they faced their Central Division foe Winnipeg Jets. They managed to get a 3-2 victory thanks in part to Alexander Kerfoot’s two points (1 goal, 1 assist), and, of course, Nathan MacKinnon’s game-winning goal in overtime.

Unfortunately, they’re still at the bottom of the pack in the tough Central Division. The race between the bottom four teams is tight — only three points separates them. Colorado does have a couple games in hand, but… as they look up at the other six teams, they have to know they face an uphill battle.

Right now, Nathan MacKinnon seems to be coming into his own as a superstar. He had an historic November of 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 12 games. He leads the team with 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists), and he’s second only to captain Gabriel Landeskog in goals.

Next: Nathan MacKinnon's Magical November

So far it’s been interesting and fun at the same time. There is plenty more of the Colorado Avalanche season to go and chances to see this team grow.