The Colorado Avalanche have had an eventful start to their 2019-20 season. Here are 31 thoughts at the quarter-season mark.
The Colorado Avalanche have played roughly a quarter of their season. Their record is 12-6-2, and they’re second in the Central Division.
Well, this season hasn’t gone the way any of us have thought. Thank goodness none of us saw this spate of injuries that have devastated the roster. But, unfortunately, they’ve hit, and they’ve hit right where it hurts — with our stars and starters.
Those injuries make it difficult to get an accurate read for how the team is doing. What would their record be like if not for the loss of their two star wingers and both their starting and backup goalie?
Well, nonetheless, as a tribute to Elliotte Friedman’s popular column, I’m going to put out 31 thoughts on Colorado’s season at the 20-game mark.
- When the Avs are healthy, they’re a dangerous team. They went 7-0-1 in their first three weeks of play. About that time, they started getting injured, and a lot changed.
- The Avs try to play the same way when they’re suffering from some big losses. They like a loose style based on their talent. When your talent is depleted, that’s a problem.
- Colorado had a tough schedule to start the season. Just two weeks and four games into the season, they had the longest road trip they’ll have all season. They had two back-to-backs just in October alone and another one to start November.
- Cale Makar is the real deal. Like the really real deal. He’s already a favorite to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. After last night’s game, he has five goals and 17 assists.
- The Colorado Avalanche traded away stalwart forward Carl Soderberg for nothing. Technically, they got Kevin Connauton and a third rounder back. Connauton got sent to the Eagles out of the preseason. He’s made just one appearance as an Av before being sent back to Loveland. And Colorado has no luck with third rounders. So, nothing.
- The trade, in reality, was mostly for youth. And yet the Avalanche hesitate so much to trust their youth. So far they’ve only recalled AHL veterans to try and augment their roster.
- I worried early in the season about goalie depth. I was right to worry. Our goalie tandem for the last two games has consisted of an AHL rookie and an injured AHL goalie.
- Andre Burakovsky is making the most of his fresh chance with the Avalanche.
- Joonas Donskoi is making the most of his fresh chance with the Avalanche.
More from Mile High Sticking
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is making the most of his fresh chance with the Avalanche.
- Nazem Kadri… didn’t need a fresh chance with the Avalanche. However, he came to us as advertised. He’s winning faceoffs (56.84%), scoring goals (7), and taking payback penalties. 😲Like I said, as advertised.
- Speaking of, Colorado won the trade. No shade to Tyson Barrie, but did the Maple Leafs even scout him? They’re refusing to unleash the chaos and instead trying to make him play a defensive role. I repeat, did they even watch a single game he ever played for the Avs?
- Avs fans and now even the team seem to have a love affair with Valeri Nichuskin. He hasn’t scored in 89 (?) games now, never once as an Av, and yet people are cheering for him like he was OUR 10th-overall pick.
- Speaking of OUR 10th-overall pick, they’re not expressing the same patience with Tyson Jost, who’s only gone 5 games without a goal. Not ideal, but hella better than 89.
- Tyson Jost is now injured. Upper body is the official word. He was rotating his shoulder after a Darnell Nurse hit in the cursed Oilers game. Nurse is now on the list.
- Ian Cole plays brutal. He can make key defensive moves, but he can’t go three games without taking a bad penalty.
- Ryan Graves… has been taking too many penalties. He’s… been a little inconsistent. He can have an amazing game and follow it up with a three-penalty night.
- Graves seems to have been just the right partner for Cale Makar. I don’t know why, and I don’t even know why Jared Bednar gave him a chance. But it was a good partnership.
- My… appreciation (or lack thereof) of Bednar is even more inconsistent than Graves’ play recently.
- Nikita Zadorov is a beast. His lip was split open in the Nashville game, requiring surgery. Nine days later, he suited up for the Canucks game. Oh, and he finished the shift bleeding profusely and with a broken jaw.
- Oh, and by the way, this absolutely criminal habit the officials have of failing to blow the play dead when a player has taken a hit to the head and is literally bleeding copiously onto the ice is [enter expletive].
- Going back to their injuries, I was pondering the matter today. Could their speed be part of the problem? In the sense that other teams go even harder against them because they know they’re not going to be able keep up skating with the skaters.
- Speaking of, our best skater is our MVP. Nathan MacKinnon won’t win the Hart Trophy as MVP, but he’s our superstar. After last night, he has 14 goals and 16 assists in 20 games. And that last goal was justice for Calvert
- Special teams have become a problem for the Colorado Avalanche. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with their injured players, but it’s rough to see.
- Matthew Nieto is something of an unsung hero for Colorado. He’s a good defensive forward. You rarely see him making bad plays.
- Sam Girard is not having the year we were hoping to see. He has just one goal and six assists. And he hasn’t been as responsible defensively as he used to be.
- Ditto Erik Johnson. ☹
- At least the Colorado Avalanche don’t play the boring style of hockey found in Arizona. Yes, their line brawl was fun. But overall, their style is mucky.
- JT Compher must miss his old roomie, Alexander Kerfoot. Because he’s taken on his no-shoot habit. (Poor Kerfoot — he’s injured, too.)
- If the leaked Stadium Series jerseys are the real deal, they’re going to be very unflattering on fans. I’m still going to get one, but it’s going to be unflattering.
- The future is bright. Conor Timmins has found his groove in Loveland. He will almost certainly be back with the team this season. Both Bo Byram and Alex Newhook are crushing it with their respective teams. We’re going to have a dangerous team for a long time.
Well, the Colorado Avalanche are giving us exciting hockey. I don’t know about you, Avs Nation, but I’m pretty excited to see what the next 20 games brings.
And I think we’re all hoping it’s a healthy Rantanen and, hopefully, Landeskog, too.