Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves has quietly become a solid figure on the team’s blueline. He’s earned his kudos.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves worked hard over the summer. Naturally, all the players work hard. However, Graves worked with special people over the summer — specifically Nathan MacKinnon and his sidekick Sidney Crosby.
The three, along with Avs prospect Shane Bowers, hail from the same neck of the woods, Nova Scotia.
During the offseason, I did a post about Graves talking about wanting to make the NHL roster full time. The Maritimer wanted to make good. To be honest, I thought he’d have a hard time with that endeavor considering how stacked the Avs blueline has become.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
Well, the Avalanche are one of the most injured teams this season, and Graves has made the most of his opportunities. To be honest, even before first Erik Johnson and then Cale Makar fell to injuries, Graves was showing himself to be a dependable defenseman.
At the time of writing, the 24-year-old defenseman had 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists). He was averaging between 18 to 22 minutes a game. And he was the NHL’s lead in a hotly-contested stat — +/-. Graves is currently +24 for the season.
What I like about Ryan Graves is his ability to play well in all three zones. He’s become a mainstay of the penalty kill, and I always feel confident when I see him out against big-name players.
Graves does have a penchant for taking a bad penalty — he recorded three in one game a while back. He’s also more of a giver than a taker, which isn’t ideal in a hockey game. However, he’s overall very solid defensively, and he can obviously pot a few in or set up some plays offensively.
Ryan Graves took some time a few days ago to talk with rink reporter Rachel Richlinski about his season so far. Naturally, as with any hockey player, Graves isn’t keen to pump his own tires. He talks about trying to play a “simple, reliable” game. Which, when you think about it, is a good description of how he plays.
That said, he also talked about his confidence level taking a boost thanks to making the team out of camp. However, he’s still out to prove himself.
Here’s the full interview:
The coaching staff also appreciates Graves’ game, observing his ability to move the puck out of the zone and jump in appropriately to pitch in on offense.
Here’s an example of that offense in the form of Ryan’s fifth goal of the season:
That’s a pretty one-timer.
Ryan Graves was a healthy scratch for just one game this season. However, with the way he’s been playing, I don’t see him being scratched from the Colorado Avalanche lineup again anytime soon.
The Maritimer has made good.