Colorado Avalanche: Evaluating Preseason Predictions and Goals

DENVER, CO - APRIL 16: Tyson Barrie #4 and Carl Soderberg #34 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate their first goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 16: Tyson Barrie #4 and Carl Soderberg #34 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate their first goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche exceeded all of our expecations. Find out how they match up with my own predictions and player goals.

Prior to the beginning of the Colorado Avalanche’s 2017-18 season, I made a series of predictions for the team and goals for individual players. Well, that season is behind us now. As we well know, the team exceeded expectations — most certainly including my own.

The Avs were coming off their historically bad 2016-17, 48-point season, so my expectations were set low. Nonetheless, let’s look back at what I thought they could and should do and compare it to what they actually did.

Predictions

Nathan MacKinnon Scores 25+ Goals

Did he ever! En route to a 97-point season, which would also result in nominations for both the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award, Nathan MacKinnon scored 39 goals.

Gabriel Landeskog Earns 60+ Points

Yes, he did. Gabriel Landeskog recorded 25 goals and 37 assists for 62 points. While not a career high, it was his second-best year in the regular season. He also recorded a career-high seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in the playoffs.

Tyson Barrie Fails to Crack the 50-Point Mark Again

I’m happy to report I was wrong. Not only did defenseman Tyson Barrie crack the 50-point mark, he exceeded his career-best in both points, 57, and goals, 14.

Jonathan Bernier Throws at Least One Shutout

More from Mile High Sticking

In fact, goalie Jonathan Bernier recorded two shutouts. He shut out the Dallas Stars on November 22, and the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 4. That second shutout came in the midst of his nine-game winning streak.

Blake Comeau Plays Fewer than 50% of the Games

In fact, winger Blake Comeau found chemistry on a checking line with Matthew Nieto and Carl Soderberg. He showed a lot of veteran leadership and played 79 games, recording 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in that time.

Carl Soderberg Sits at Least 20 Games

Center Carl Soderberg missed just five regular-season games — three of them because of the birth of his third child — and no playoff games. He recorded 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists).

The Colorado Avalanche Earn 35 Wins

The Colorado Avalanche exceeded that prediction, going 43-30-9 in the regular season.

The Colorado Avalanche Earn 75 Points

They well exceeded that prediction, too — earning a full 95 points and a playoff berth.

The Colorado Avalanche Win the 1st-Overall Draft Pick

A playoff berth meant no participation in the Draft Lottery. The Buffalo Sabres both earned (with their record) and won the first-overall pick.

Matt Duchene Records a 30-Goal Season — and Gets Traded at Deadline

Matt Duchene came this-close to another 30-goal season — he recorded 27. He did, indeed, get traded. As we know, though, it wasn’t at the trade deadline but rather in the middle of a November game.

And now on to the player goals.

Player Goals

Nathan MacKinnon

  • Record 60 points
  • Achieve 9% or more shooting accuracy
  • Keep shots total over 200

Boy, I, like everyone else, didn’t see our young center turning so drastically into a superstar. Those are some mundane goals compared to what he achieved this season. We already know he obliterated the first goal with 95 points. Concerning the other, far less important goals, he took 284 shots and recorded a 13.7% shooting percentage.

Hey, if I’d have known his play was going to skyrocket, I would have made the Hart Trophy a goal.

Gabriel Landeskog

  • Score over 20 goals
  • Record 60 points
  • Avoid getting suspended

As noted above, Landeskog recorded 25 goals and 62 points. So tick the first two off. As for the third… dammit, Gabe. He got suspended (a ridiculous) four games for crosschecking in November.

Tyson Barrie

  • Achieve at least 5% shooting accuracy
  • Decrease turnover ratio
  • Maintain positive CorsiFor

In the dismal 2016-17 season, Barrie recorded a 3.8% shooting accuracy, -29 turnover ratio and 54.3 CorsiFor%. Well, en route to his career season, Barrie shot at 7.9% accuracy. His CorsiFor% did dip a little, but only to 53.5. While still in the negative, his turnover ratio improved — to -18.

Erik Johnson

  • Play all 82 games
  • Record 39 points
  • Achieve at least 5% shooting accuracy

Dammit, EJ. Our cornerstone defenseman, Erik Johnson, missed 20 games — two of them with (a bogus) suspension, and the other 18 due to injury. Had he played more, he likely would have gotten 39 points, thus matching his career-high. As it was, he recorded 25 points in 62 games. He did achieve a 5.4% shooting accuracy.

Next: Takeaways for the Avs Youngsters

Well, except for a couple of blips, the Colorado Avalanche as a team and individual players far exceeded our expectations. Our new superstar, Nathan MacKinnon, stated that this season’s achievements set the bar higher for next year’s team. When I make my predictions and goals in a few months, I’m definitely going to be shooting higher.