The Colorado Avalanche need to bust through their current slump if they want to stay in a prime spot for playoff contention. The leaders on the team can help.
The Colorado Avalanche are suffering through a mid-season slump. All teams go through their ups and downs. However, the Avalanche are going through an enduring down.
The team is 4-7-1 in their last series of games. They’re currently in the third seed in the Central Division. Winnipeg is just three points back from taking that spot.
Ok, we know what ramifications the team is facing if they don’t bust out of their slump and soon. So, let’s look at how the team can do just that. The key is in the team’s leadership core, both players wearing letters and those who bear other leadership roles.
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
The Avalanche have a great leadership core. When it comes to actually helping the team on the ice, the obvious leader is Nathan MacKinnon. He’s en route to his third career season in a row. He’s on pace to earn 120 points. (Wow!)
MacKinnon has put the team on his back before. He might need to that again to get the Avs in the W column for at least a couple games in a row.
The captain, of course, is the soul of the team. Gabriel Landeskog’s leadership both on the ice and in the locker room is paramount to the team’s success. He’s charged with keeping team morale up.
Erik Johnson is the third lettered leader. He’s the longest-tenured member of the Colorado Avalanche. He’s influenced the culture of the team as much as the other two.
I’ve always felt Johnson is the player to say the tough things in the locker room. He’ll be brutally honest about what the team needs to do. However, when you’ve earned his praise, you can feel confident you’ve earned it.
Johnson isn’t the only veteran on the team. Colorado is blessed with others who know how to get past the rough patches.
I’m not a big fan of Ian Cole‘s style of play — especially when he takes detrimental penalties. However, he’s been on two Cup-winning teams. He knows how to drive through tough times to get to the ultimate prize. It’s up to him to keep leading in that direction.
Matt Calvert is all heart. Another veteran, he’s something of a team dad. He has literally put his body on the line for the team’s success. That leaves an impression on the other players, especially the young ones.
Nazem Kadri is another player who knows how to work through pressure, having come from the Toronto hockey world. And, boy, did he show his willingness to literally fight for his teammates in the Rangers game.
We can’t forget the literal oldest player on the team, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. He’s actually a wizard at getting the youngsters fired up or calmed down, depending on what’s needed.
Speaking of players who can read the room and provide the right attitude, that’s an aspect of Tyson Jost‘s game that’s largely overlooked. I’m sure he’s focused on his goals drought right now, but he’s still glue both on the ice and in the dressing room.
Of course, we’ll have to include our third star in this list, Mikko Rantanen. I think most of his leadership comes on the ice. He’s simply got to put his best foot forward every night.
Finally, let’s finish off with Mark Barberio. He is not enjoying the role he’d like, I’m sure. He’s scratched more often than not. Yet how he conducts himself in this situation — which is admirably — is a model for the younger players when they’re facing their own adversity.
All the players have their roles on the team. However, the above players can do a lot to get the Colorado Avalanche back to their winning ways.