We need to have some patience in waiting for Colorado Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost to come into his own as an NHLer.
Colorado Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost isn’t having quite the breakout season we might want from him. He has two goals and two assists in 17 games for the Avalanche and one goal and one assist in five games with the San Antonio Rampage.
Jost seemed to have a stronger start last season, earning his first NHL goal in the six games he played with the Avs — remember, this was an Avs team that was circling the drain of a 48-point season.
There has been some frustration concerning Jost from Avs fans. I don’t think people are really frustrated with the kid personally — there’s no question of effort or ego (plenty of the former, little of the latter). However, some fans have gone so far as to suggest Jost needs more development at the AHL level.
After exploring that possibility in this post:
I just don’t think I agree with that assessment. I don’t think there’s a question of Jost’s skill — that’s the kind of development the AHL can offer, but I don’t think that’s what he needs.
Let’s look at what might be preventing Jost from having a breakout rookie season and evaluate what might get him on the right track.
Tyson Jost suffered a groin injury early in training camp. That kept him out of a lot of the preliminary training. He also missed the intra-team scrimmage Burgundy and White game. He practiced for the first time on September 22.
Jost made his preseason debut on September 24 against the Minnesota Wild. He earned an assist on Rocco Grimaldi‘s goal. He also played in the September 25 game against the Dallas Stars and earned an assist on Nathan MacKinnon‘s goal. Jost got his own goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on September 28.
Jost then played four regular season games — during which time he did record a goal, an empty netter at the end of the Boston Bruins game. Unfortunately, in that same game Adam McQuaid laid a brutal boarding on Jost that caused a bone bruise. Jost returned to that game.
Tyson Jost missed two games and then played two more. However, after October 19, Jost was put on injured reserve. He missed three weeks, traveled with the team to Sweden (didn’t play) then got sent to the San Antonio Rampage on a conditioning assignment. He returned to NHL play on November 29.
So, between getting a late start and then struggling through an injury before being put on IR, Jost hasn’t had a lot of time to get into the swing of things.
Lack of Consistency
Not all of the inconsistency in Jost’s rookie year has been because of injury. Because he missed a lot of the preseason and was in and out of the lineup early in the season, Tyson Jost didn’t get a chance to find any chemistry on a line. Instead, the coaches moved him around with different linemates.
Jost has played most frequently with Kerfoot, Yakupov and Compher in the last couple weeks. Oh, and Gabriel Bourque for a couple games…
Veteran NHLers talk about liking to find chemistry with their linemates, which comes from consistency. It’s going to be difficult for a 19-year-old to both learn the NHL game and try to figure out what his linemates are going to do.
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The Colorado Avalanche currently have five rookies on their roster and one more, Mikko Rantanen, in his second year of his entry-level contract. They’ve also cycled five others through the roster in the regular season.
Additionally, the Colorado Avalanche have two 22-year-olds — Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Zadorov — playing big roles on the team while striding into their NHL prime.
It’s all well and good to have a lot of youth on the team, but every single one of those players above is in a different level of his development. When a team is trying to spread itself that thin on developing players, things fall through the cracks.
I also don’t think that Jost is the Gabriel Landeskog kind of 19-year-old, ready to live on his own. (Sam Girard apparently is, living on his own in Cherry Creek with his girlfriend. I want to be judgey, but that’s how old I was when I moved in with a boyfriend.) I don’t mean that as a knock on Tyson — I rather think he’s more in the Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly mold. All four of those players were living with established family men at 19.
I just read this sad story about retired NHLer Matt Johnson who earned millions and is now homeless. He started in the NHL as a teenager. Though he did live with an established family man — Wayne Gretzky, no less — he was given a lot of leeway. The story, Searching for Matt Johnson, talked about how the player “didn’t get a lot of direction in how to make the adjustment to the NHL.”
Pray God the road to homelessness never even presents itself to Tyson Jost, much less be one he takes a single step on. However, I do wish he was getting some more direction.
Hope for Tyson Jost
Fingers crossed, Tyson Jost appears to be healthy. Also, fingers crossed, he’s not spinning through the lineup with quite as much reckless abandon on the coach’s part. Kerfoot and Yakupov, occasionally Bourque — that’s better than the salad spinner approach to lining up Jost.
What’s more, 22-year-old JT Compher appears to be playing big brother to Jost. Not only are they roomates both at home and on the road, according to the Avalanche Twitter, the two car pool to all the games and practices. Plus, when you watch them together, Compher always seems to be trying to prepare Jost for the tough NHL life. Granted, it looks like horseplay, but roughness and bonding are integral aspects of that lifestyle.
Anyway, I’m sure Tyson Jost has a good head on his shoulders, and I have confidence in Tyson Jost’s skills as a player. And recently he’s been looking a lot more confident on the ice. I’m sure he’ll be striding into his NHL self soon.