Colorado Avalanche: Scoring Depth in the Blueline

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Tyson Barrie
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Tyson Barrie /

Last week, we talked about the Colorado Avalanche’s scoring depth, and lucky us our defensemen have been scoring too. Let’s take a look.

Defense has been the Colorado Avalanche’s (and the fans’) source of headaches and frustrations many, many times, but when our D-men our healthy and focused, wonderful things can happen. With the addition of Ian Cole, the Colorado Avalanche has improved in the defense department and, what do you know: our defensemen have been scoring too.

Of course, they don’t have the big numbers like that of our scoring leader Mikko Rantanen, nor the amount of goals Carl Soderberg has blessed us with, but our blueliners have been setting up some beautiful goals and scoring themselves as well. Who are we talking about here? Tyson Barrie, Sam Girard, and Erik Johnson.

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Tyson Barrie is currently leading our defensemen with 22 points (four goals and 18 assists) despite missing four games due to injury. Barrie currently shares the ninth spot among defensemen in the league with Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, and is one of the Avs’ key elements when it comes to power play – no one can deny the chemistry between Barrie and the top line.

Our ice-cream loving d-man has been paired with Ian Cole this season: Cole brings physicality and big hits, Barrie will keep the puck in the offensive zone. Which brings us to our top pairing: Sam Girard and Erik Johnson. With 12 points so far (two goals, ten assists), Girard sits at number two among Avs’ defensemen, with EJ on the third spot with nine points (two goals, seven assists).

Both Girard and EJ are going through a point drought since November 28 when they played against the Pittsburgh Penguins (that beautiful game where the Avs won 6-3), where they each got a goal and an assist. The point drought pains me but not really because even if they haven’t scored, they haven’t been completely asleep (we don’t talk about the loss against Tampa. Not yet, at least).

Honorable mention to Ian Cole, who shares the third spot with EJ with nine points (one goal, eight assists). Cole has not only kept the puck away from the net multiple times but he has also lost the gloves to defend his teammates, and that’s something I deeply appreciate. Like I said before: he’s the half that brings physicality, like EJ and Nikita Zadorov do in their respective pairings.

Even when our defensemen are doing their job, regardless if they’re scoring or not, you’ll still find people demanding for Tyson Barrie to be scratched, sent to the bottom line, or traded (believe me, I’ve seen it), or for Girard to have more ice time. My advice? Trust the coach, and most of all trust your team.

The top-line performs better when Barrie is on the ice and that’s a fact. Girard, while young, skilled, and fast, shouldn’t be pushed too hard and given more ice time, simply because he is one of our top defensemen and he is young. You don’t want to burn out one of your best players.

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The Colorado Avalanche will face the St. Louis Blues tonight, and hopefully this will be the end of their ongoing losing-streak, as well as the end of the point drought of some of our blueliners.