Even though Colorado Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost has struggled some this season, he’s confident in his abilities to lead him to success.
Colorado Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost isn’t having quite the year he’s probably wanted, nor what we quite expected.
Jost has only played 31 out of the possible 48 games because of injuries. In those 31 games, he’s recorded three goals and seven assists. Those aren’t exactly great numbers. (It puts him after Patrik Nemeth in points — Nemeth has only played 34 games. And is a shut-down defenseman.)
Nonetheless, Jost is staying upbeat about his skills — and so should we.
Tyson Jost’s Development
“I know I can score. I know I can put the puck in the back of the net.” ~Tyson Jost
In a previous article, we explored a little about what might be holding Jost back. He averages around 13 minutes of ice time per game, which puts him on similar footing with fellow rookie Alexander Kerfoot (12 goals, 20 assists). He gets 53.3% of his zone starts in the offensive zone and even sees some power play time.
I’m still a little worried that, with so many rookies in the lineup (usually four or five per game with another one or two on the roster in practices), Jost isn’t getting the development attention he needs. If you only have one or two rookies on your roster, the coaches and veterans can target their attention on those rookies’ needs.
When I attend practices, though, I don’t notice any of the coaching staff paying extra attention to Jost — not on the ice anyway. Tyson is always one of the last players off the ice, but typically I see him working with fellow rookies (and roomies) Alexander Kerfoot and J.T. Compher in this spare time.
I think the other part of the problem is that he hasn’t found his niche in the lineup. Kerfoot was gangbusters out of the gate on a line with Nail Yakupov and Matt Duchene, both of whom he showed chemistry with. Even after Duchene got traded, Kerfoot mostly lines up with Yakupov, including in the power play.
Compher, like Jost, has been in and out of the lineup because of injury (and a recent bout with the flu). He’s been up and down the lines, too. At one point he was with Kerfoot and Jost on the rookie line. These days, he sometimes serves as the third forward on Kerfoot’s line, and sometimes he lines up with Jost.
Playing around with Natural Stat Trick, Jost plays better with either Kerfoot or Compher, but not both — he plays especially well with Compher. But that still leaves them only at a CosiFor of 48%.
I’d like to see Jost get a situation at least like Kerfoot’s, playing on a line consistently with one other player. Compher is a good bet.
Tyson Jost’s Confidence
During a pre-game interview before the St. Louis Blues game, Jost talked a little bit about learning the NHL game. He’s certainly soaking in what he’s observing and hearing because he said the same things the veterans talk about.
During that interview, the reporter remarked on how good his scoring chances have been, but that they just haven’t been going in for Jost. Tyson actually smiled and laughed a little — he’s not twisting in the wind (thank goodness). He acknowledged that he’d been getting a lot of chances, and that it’s nice to see. However, he now wants to “put them in the back of the net. He added:
"“I’m not going to get frustrated. I know it’s going to come. If I keep getting those chances, it’s bound to go in sooner or later. I just got to stick with it here. I know I can score. I know I can put the puck in the back of the net. That’s what I’ve got to think. It’s going to happen for me sooner or later.”"
Jost has always had success no matter what level. Playing in bantam. he averaged two or three points per game. In the BCHL, he averaged one to two points per game. Playing for the University of North Dakota, a renowned hockey school which turned out Jonathan Toews, Jost earned 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in his single season.
In hindsight, should Jost have spent another year in that prestigious hockey program. Probably. I’m selfishly glad he didn’t, but he probably would have had more attention on his development than what he sees here.
That said, in the presser Jost remarked that he likes how his game has been so far. As well he should — he has been getting those scoring chances.
Until he got to UND, Tyson Jost had never been playing in a league that suited his level — his talent could have put him in the major juniors, but he knew he was going the college route.
It takes time to learn the NHL game, especially when you’ve been used to dominating. Nonetheless, Jost is showing that he can be an apt pupil. He remarked that he’s “getting more comfortable. He went on:
"“Obviously as a rookie, you want to learn the ways, and kind of feel it out. It didn’t help the plan there when I was out for a month-and-a-half. It’s nice because I’m really getting the feel of things. I like how I’m playing. I just want to keep that up and keep rolling.”"
If Tyson Jost keeps playing the way he has been, he’s definitely going to start potting in a few more goals. He’s a natural finisher — that’s why I’m surprised he hasn’t don’t better with playmaker Alexander Kerfoot.
On a lighter note, Jost also talked about being a Canadian kid playing in Canada:
"“I think it’s every Canadian kid’s dream to play in Montreal and Toronto. We always watch hockey in Canada, and those two teams are always on. I remember when I was a little kid I’d always be pissed off because they were always playing when my Oilers should have been on.”"
My Canadian geography isn’t great, and I wasn’t aware of how close Jost’s home town of St. Albert was to Edmonton — that was the first time I’d heard he grew up being an Oilers fan. Poor kid, they haven’t been even remotely decent since he was eight and they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Finals.
Anyway, no one should be worried that Jost is a bust — I’m certainly not suggesting that we write the 19-year-old off. Even though he’s struggled to find the back of the net recently, he’s made some beautiful plays.
If Tyson Jost keeps on playing his game, he’s sure to find his NHL legs. It may not be this season, but I have no doubt he’ll be a regular contributor next season.