A look at the Colorado Avalanche so far through the halfway mark of the season

Here's where the Colorado Avalanche are at so far at the halfway mark
Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

As the Colorado Avalanche come to the halfway point of the regular season, they have been up and down. They’ve shown a lot of good play, currently sitting second in the central division with 59 points, and they’ve also shown some streaky play through the season so far.

They are 28-12-3 so far and have scored 160 goals, good for tops in the Central division. Colorado has enjoyed Ball Arena so far, as they are 18-5 at home. The road has not been as kind to them, with the Avs splitting their 20 road games.

Around the halfway point, some players have separated themselves from the pack as players the Avs can count on as they begin their push toward the division title and the playoffs. Some injuries have hindered the Avs from reaching heights they could have if completely healthy. Where has the team’s weakness been noticed?

Mile High Sticking will walk you through those answers and more as we look back at the first half of 2023-2024 for the Colorado Avalanche.

Most impactful Avs through the halfway mark

The most impactful members of the team this season have been the usual suspects of course- Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar.

Nasty Nate has been unstoppable for the Avalanche this season, totaling 69 points over his first 43 games. MacKinnon already has 46 assists this season, better than a one-per-game average. MacKinnon is also a +9 on the season, on the ice for nine more goals scored than allowed.

Positive things happen with Nate on the ice, and he’s the number one key for other teams each night among the forward group. MacKinnon is a possession machine, with a Corsi For percentage of 57.5. Corsi rates control of the puck with this player on the ice. Anything above 50% is a strong number. MacKinnon blows that away.

Another season of MacKinnon peppering the net is upon us as he has registered 195 shots thus far this season for an average of 4.5 per game. His five game-winning goals have helped Colorado this season as well.

Makar provides the same type of mismatches from the blue line that MacKinnon does in the opposing zones. Makar’s been productive as usual this season, with 48 points over 38 games. He’s averaging a tick over 1 assist per game, with 39 in 38 games. Makar is also a +8 in just under 25 minutes per game (24:49 average time on ice).

Makar has also pushed possession while on the ice for the Avs this season. His Corsi For percentage is 54.5, which is a strong number. He's also taken 114 shots on goal, an average of three shots per game. Although he starts in the offensive zone more than 60% of the time, Makar actually has more assists at even strength than he does on the power play so far this year, 21 to 18.

To highlight some other players, Logan O'Connor started off the season very well and has provided some offense while on the penalty kill. Jonathan Drouin started off slowly but has been playing very well over his last 20 games or so, helping to provide some necessary secondary scoring for the team.

Key Injuries that have affected the Avalanche

On top of all the good Makar has provided, he’s been out of the lineup for various ailments, playing only 38 games. Having a team’s best defenseman missing games does not bode well for overall continuity on a nightly basis on the backline. It’s important for a defensive pairing to be familiar with each other and the other’s style of play, and having different defenders paired together does not bode well for that.

Makar missing games has given rise to opportunities for lesser-known defensemen such as Caleb Jones and Sam Malinski.

Over 19 games played this season, Jones has found the score sheet four times, all assists. Known for his steady play, he’s been a +5 this season, a very efficient number over just 19 games. Malinski has been better offensively than Jones has, and that should be expected. Sam has scored two goals and added four assists in 17 contests this season. He’s also a +3. As both young players are plus players and also on lower salaries, they’ve helped immensely for Colorado this season.

Artturi Lehkonen’s injury has hurt (no pun intended). Lehkonen added eight points in just 12 games before his injury this season, and he was providing some quality secondary scoring for the team. Artturi scored 51 points in 64 games last season and was continuing that pace this season before his injury. The Avalanche may need to make a deadline acquisition to fill this void if Lehkonen continues to be out long-term.

 An injury that happened pre-season but has affected the season is the injury to Pavel Francouz that will put him out for the season. It has left the goaltending situation in peril for the team, with Ivan Prosvetov handling the backup role for the season in Pavel’s absence.

Biggest issues through the halfway point for the Avalanche

Goaltending has been the biggest issue thus far for Colorado. Even though the offense can, it doesn’t mean they should have to score what seems like four or five goals per game to ensure victory. Alexandar Georgiev started the season hot but has cooled off significantly since the beginning of the season. He’s still the number one option for the Avs, but some believe his hold on that spot is perilous or could be with the right moves at or near the deadline.

Across 36 games thus far, Georgiev is 24-9-2- a quality win/loss record. His 24 wins rank first in the NHL to this point of the season. Where the issues begin is his .897 save percentage, which is not Stanley Cup-winning level. It is currently 56th in the NHL.

That won’t be good enough to carry the Avalanche on a long-sustained playoff run. Georgiev gave up 156 goals over 62 games last season for a 2.53 goals against average, and a .918 save percentage. This season, he’s already allowed 101 goals over 36 games for a 2.89 goals-against average.

The backup goalie has not fared much better, if at all. Ivan Prosvetov, acquired from Calgary before the season, has had some quality moments, but has also struggled. Prosvetov has a 4-3-1 record over 11 appearances this season. His goals-against average is 3.16, worse than Georgiev’s and his .895 save percentage is 60th in the NHL to this point.

Prosvetov has done enough to get the Avalanche the two points more often than not, but his play must increase significantly if the Avalanche are to depend on him to shoulder the load for any reason moving forward.

The Avalanche have played well this season. There’s a lot to like thus far. They can continue to play well the rest of the season, and then playoff time begins. Hopefully, they’ll have a certain Captain back in the fold by then, and if so, the sky is the limit for this team.