First of all, I'm sure the illustrious Draft Dodger will be posting oodles of great statistical summaries over the next few days/weeks here and at ITCS to help us all wrap our little heads around the 2007-08 season. But in the meantime, I figured it wouldn't hurt to run down a few of the more prominent numbers and see where the Avs stand compared to the rest of the NHL and their own showing last year.
The value of the dollar may be plummeting, but the value of 95 points in the National Hockey League seems to be on the way back up. Last season, the Avs were the first team ever to miss the playoffs with that many, but this year they more or less coasted in. Nashville, the eighth-place team in the West, managed only 91. Boston and Ottawa made it in the East with just 94.
The Avs' 44 wins---tied with last year's total---was good enough for eighth overall, a tie with Minnesota. Last year the Avs were tied for 12th with Tampa Bay. And last year the Avs had the dubious distinction of being the team with the most wins not making the playoffs. This year the "honor" goes to Carolina, who had 43.
The Avs scored 231 goals this season (which, historically, is right back to pre-Lockout levels). I think Wayne Gretzky scored 231 goals by himself one year. Colorado ranks twelfth in the league, tied with playoff-missers Toronto and Los Angeles. Not that scoring a lot of goals means success for a hockey team, anyway, since Buffalo and Carolina scored 255 and 252 goals respectively (fourth and fifth place) and both will be sitting out when the playoffs start on Wednesday. Colorado's total goals this season are a far cry from last year's fourth-place total of 272. 41 goals fewer with what appeared to be a much stronger lineup could mean all kinds of things. Whether it's the league's fault, the conference's fault or just the team's fault I'll let somebody else worry about.
Now, while Colorado scored a lot fewer goals, they also allowed a lot fewer goals. Their 219 goals-allowed (eleventh-best in the league)is 32 fewer than in 2006-07.
Nobody here has ever talked about the power play, so I guess I'll have to bring it up. Last season the Avalanche power play percentage of 21.1 was the fourth-best in the NHL. This year they finished in 28th, barely squeaking above the Islanders (14.5) at the very last minute with a percentage of 14.6. St. Louis was last with 14.1%. Things look to be improving with the addition of Peter Forsberg, but really, he could go supernova at any second and the Avs could go back to killing kittens wholesale.
Colorado was immensely mediocre in the penalty killing column, finishing 21st with a percentage of 81.4. Not terrible, but definitely not lights-out. That said, they were better than last year (80.2%).
Denver was a happy place for the Avs, and they finished the year with a 27-12-2 record at The Can, good enough for third place in the NHL. Only playoff favorites Detroit and Anaheim fared better on their own turf. Colorado was 24th on the road, with a sad record of 17-19-5.
The Avs did really great against their own division (20-10-2), mediocre against the Pacific (9-7-4) and horrible against the Central (7-12-1). Those four losses to the Red Wings didn't help. Against the East, Colorado dominated, going 8-2-0, including a big win against those whippersnappers in Pittsburgh that everyone has already decided will win the Cup this year and every year for the next decade.
So there are some basic (easy-to-find) numbers. The second part of this season recap will deal with our brave boys in Burgundy and Blue, the players. God love 'em.