Colorado Avalanche Veteran Matt Calvert Celebrates 500th Game

DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 03: Matt Calvert #11 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on October 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 03: Matt Calvert #11 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on October 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Colorado Avalanche veteran Matt Calvert reached a big milestone against Minnesota — his 500th NHL game.

The Colorado Avalanche are starting to temper their youth movement in a good way. They recognize that you have to have a few veterans around to provide an experienced counter to the young guns.

Well, 29-year-old winger Matt Calvert is just that. He’s in his 10th year in the NHL, and last night he skated in his 500th game.

Now, naturally, Calvert skated most of those 500 games in Columbus — 416, to be exact. The Blue Jackets selected him in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. And let me say, it’s something for a fifth-rounder to reach the 500-game mark.

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Calvert, whom some on the team (mainly Tyson Jost) affectionately call Uncle Calvs, came to the Colorado Avalanche in free agency in the summer of 2018. At that time, he signed a three-year contract worth $2.85 million annually.

And that’s what I mean by adding veteran presence the right way. Calvert was 28 at the time of signing and will be 31 when his contract is finished — definite veteran, but not aging veteran. What’s more, the team didn’t tie up a lot of salary space in that contract.

Calvert’s value to the team will never be in his numbers. He skated in all 82 regular-season games last year and recorded just 26 points. However, he’s an energy guy on the ice. And when he had to miss some of the postseason because of injury, his presence was missed.

Matt Calvert was a starter for his 500th game, a 4-2 win over the (hated) Minnesota Wild. In that game, he recorded an assist. He had three shots on goal and two hits. He also just missed making a goal on a breakaway.

After the game, he talked about how special it was to reach the 500-game mark. He remarked that players often look for those milestones, “whether you’re going for your 100th or 200th point, 500th game.”

In fact, Calvert’s heading for his 200th point — he has 177 right now.

He added that such milestones “make you look back on your career a little., how you got there and the journey you’ve had.” He continued:

"“It’s been a fun ride, and I hope there’s a lot more left to give.”"

Now, Calvert is a fourth-liner this season, playing wing to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Last year he was on the third line. Before the season even started, he was asked about seeing his role diminish. He answered that he’d had the chance to go to teams where he could have a bigger role, but he wanted to come to a team that had a chance to win.

And that’s the Colorado Avalanche.

Here’s what he said after the 500th game about the team he’s on now:

"“I think the big thing is we can dictate a game when we want to. We found that out through six periods this year. When we want to skate, when we want to get pucks deep, keep it simple, our skill goes to work after that.”"

That’s right, Uncle Calvs went with the cliche “get pucks deep” — he is still a hockey player.

Here’s the full interview:

As noted in previous posts about Matt, he’s something of a Team Dad, even if he isn’t even the oldest member on the team. Indeed, when Cale Makar needed someone to stay with when he first came to Colorado, he landed with the Calverts.

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Matt Calvert has been a good addition for the Colorado Avalanche. I’m glad he got to celebrate that 500th game milestone here — and let’s hope he gets that 200th point milestone here, too!