Colorado Avalanche: 3 Players Primed for a Breakout Season

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 01: Colorado Avalanche Defenceman Samuel Girard (49) during the NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 1, 2019 in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 01: Colorado Avalanche Defenceman Samuel Girard (49) during the NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 1, 2019 in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have some bright, young talent. And three of those talented youngsters are poised for breakout seasons.

Just a couple years ago, the Colorado Avalanche were top-two of all NHL teams for youth. Well, they’re not exactly long in the tooth now, but some of their youngsters have grown up a bit.

Right now, the average age of the team is around 27. They’ve got just one legitimate veteran — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare at 34. However, they also have a clutch of players in the 28 to 31 range.

Nonetheless, they’ve still got a good handful of players who are in the 20 to 22 range — I’m not counting Bowen Byram because he hasn’t made the NHL roster yet.

Well, there are three players who have made the NHL roster. They’re mostly home-grown talent. And all three of these players are poised for a breakout season.

Sam Girard

Age: 21
NHL experience: 150 games

While not exactly a home-grown talent because the Colorado Avalanche didn’t draft him, defenseman Samuel Girard has spent all but five of his NHL games with the Avs.

Girard is an agile, puck-moving defenseman who’s surprisingly defensively responsible. He displays great skating and stick work.

One of Girard’s great skills has always been his ability to lead the rush and to create plays. He scored a lot in the lower levels, but hasn’t found his scoring stride yet in the NHL. He has 7 goals and 40 assists across his 150 games. That averages out to .31 per game.

Not shabby, but not quite Tyson Barrie ability. He’s averaged .63 points per game across his career so far. But then, Barrie didn’t start at that pace — his first three seasons, 106 games, he averaged .48 points per game.

I think that’s a reachable average for a Sam Girard breakout season this year. Girard was never meant to fully replace Barrie himself. However, because of his experience and playing style, he will probably take on more of Barrie’s roles. He’ll probably see a little bump in ice time, not least because I think he’ll get first power play unit.

So, across an 82-game season, Girard’s breakout can look like 39 points, a swift uptick from last year’s 27.

 Tyson Jost

Age: 21
NHL experience: 141 games

Center Tyson Jost is a true homegrown talent. He’s also the player on this list who has the most to prove.

Well, for all the people out there who want to beat him up and declare him a bust, I have some truths that need to be remembered. Yes, he was a top-10 pick, but he was scouted to go around the #15 mark. He suffered injuries at the beginning of both his full seasons.

And he is still only 21 years old. And not an old 21 either — he doesn’t even turn 22 until March 14.

So, yes, Jost has just 49 points in 141 NHL games. However, I feel very strongly he’s going to have a breakout season. He’ll likely be playing on a line with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, two players who also have a lot to prove.

Last season, Jost recorded 26 points across 70 games. I’m going to double that total, hoping for a full 82-game season. I predict he’ll earn 50+ points, which is better than any second-liner managed last season.

Cale Makar

Age: 20
NHL experience: 10 games

More from Mile High Sticking

Defenseman Cale Makar has nothing to prove this year except that he can hang in the NHL across an 82-game season. He has just 10 NHL games to his name, all in the playoffs.

What a debut, though, eh? He scored a goal in his first game and went on to record a total of six points in those 10 games. In. The. Playoffs. As a defenseman.

Makar isn’t just the player tapped to replace Tyson Barrie. I’m calling him the next Erik Karlsson.

Do I really think Makar can have 60-, 70- and even 80-point seasons? Damn straight. But not this year, and I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on the 20-year-old rookie.

But I’m going to put that Karlsson pressure on him. As a 19-year-old rookie, Karlsson recorded 26 points in 60 games, averaging out to .43 points per game. If Makar plays the full 82, that works out to 35 points on the season.

It’s ok if he doesn’t make that total. I, for one, won’t toss him onto the rubbish heap as a 21-year-old bust at the end of the season.

But… Makar for Calder — sounds pretty good.

Next. Jost and Makar in Sweet then Sour Videos. dark

What do you think, Colorado Avalanche fans? Do these players have a chance at the breakout seasons I’ve outlined?