The Avalanche Blogger Roundtable has reached the halfway point. Question #5 can be found after the jump; previous questions are linked below. Question #6 will be up later today.
Question 1: Avalanche attendance woes
Question 2: Avalanche toughness
Question 3: Craig Anderson, workhorse
Question 4: Improvement on defense
The last time an Avalanche defenseman scored 40 points in the regular season was the 2006-2007, when John-Michael Liles scored 44. Who do you think will be the next Avalanche blueliner to hit that mark?
Matt Powell, The Burgundy Blog: That's hard to say. Something we've seen a lot lately is a defensive squad that won't shoot the puck unless it's a clear shot. What we've been missing is a guy on the blue line who has that canon of a shot that other players don't want to block and seem to flinch more than block. I was stoked when Mueller showed up and shot from the point more than our defensemen. Now that he's out with another concussion we're losing that again. I wish I could pick a defenseman capable of 44 points in a season. If Liles has a good pairing, I'm sure he could do it again, but we may have to wait for Shattenkirk, Cohen, and Holos to be regulars before we see a defenseman with high points.
Sean Payton, Anyone But Detroit:
- If he stays in the lineup, Liles will be the next to do it again. (Yes that’s a BIG "if".)
- Last year, JML had 31 pts in 59 games - if you do that math - he was on pace for 44 points had he played in 82 games.
- The only other current Avs blueliner who has any shot to get to 44 pts would be Quincey, but its pretty clear that his game isn’t consistent enough to demand PP time all season (which is where D-men pile up their points).
Paul's Coffey, Mile High Hockey: Johnny Hot Pocket is poised to have his most productive season since 05-06, when he netted 49 points. He had a very instructive season last, and teamed with Mueller running the point on the PP, should push Male Model over the hump.
Angélique Murray, Avs Prospects, Mile High Hockey, Chicks Who Give A Puck: John-Michael Liles really benefited from having Peter Mueller on the point of the power play and his game blossomed. With Mueller out indefinitely, he may struggle. If he can be consistent throughout the season, Kyle Quincey has the best opportunity of reaching the 40 point mark. He had 38 points with the LA Kings in 2008-09.
Terry Frei, The Denver Post: Liles. I think he's back in their good graces. I think.
Stephen Crociata, Patrick Kane's Loose Change: If John-Michael Liles stayed healthy and out of Sacco's doghouse last season he easily would have hit the 40 point mark and if he gets into 70 games this season I fully expect him to hit the 40 point mark. I also expect Avs fans to see many 40 point seasons from Kyle Cumiskey in the future although it happening as soon as this season is likely wishful thinking.
Matt Jordan, Mile High Mayhem: I think Liles will best his 44 this year. Will it all be in an Avalanche uniform? Only time will tell.
Ryan Boulding, The Burgundy Blog: Even last year Liles managed a decent amount of points for having sat out of the not-so-merry-go-round of defense quite a bit. I would argue that Liles, if left to his game and paired on the Power Play with Quincey, Holos, or a hard shooting forward - like Peter Mueller - will be the next blueliner to at least challenge that total. Also, Kyle Quincey is looking ready to really come into his own this year and I fully expect him to have a lot more points than last season.
From the Point, Real Denver Sports: Now that Mueller is out, Liles has little chance of making this mark. Might as well lay your money on Foote as any of them!
Mike Thompson, Mile High Hockey: John-Michael Liles. Seriously.
Shane Giroux, Avs Talk: Liles will hit it again this year. It's time for Liles to really step up and I believe it will happen this year. Plus, if he hadn't missed any games last year, he was on pace to hit 40 points. And if the Avs hadn't lost to the Sharks in the playoffs, they would have won the Stanley Cup. Projections are fun.
Norbert Gruber, Eurolanche: I think that the next succesful d-men will be Kyle Cumiskey because of his offensive skills and his speed and good transition game. He is still young and he will develop into a scoring-defenseman
Courtney Beckham, Chicks Who Give A Puck: It's interesting that it was Liles who last did it because of them all he is who I think has the best shot at doing it again. For one, he's done it once so we know he's capable. And second, if we can get Mueller back to being healthy the two of them really connected on the power play. Right when we got Mueller and those two had a goal and assist from each other on the power play, it just clicked. I think if Sacco stops dog-housing some of his players he has a shot at doing enough to get back up there.
Derek Bell, Mile High Hockey: I don't think that it will happen this year, but I think that Kyle Cumiskey will break that mark in the 2011-12 season. This year, I am predicting that he will score 9 goals and have 23 assists.
Marc Parsons, Hendricks Hockey: I think Quincey and Liles will make that mark this year. Being on the powerplay with Mueller is going to be huge for those 2 d-men. Even if its assists.
David Driscoll-Carignan, Mile High Hockey: I say Stefan Elliot...three years from now. Good luck digging this one up to prove me wrong in 2014, Mike!
Adam Hersh, An Avalanche of Thoughts: If Zorro, I mean Jack Sparrow, I mean Peter Mueller was starting the season healthy, I would say Liles as this question's answer, as the two of them had great chemistry manning the points on the PP. Since this is not the case, our next 40 point blueliner might be a few years away in one Kevin Shattenkirk.
Andy Robbins, Avs Weekly: I believe Kyle Quincey is next in line to break the 40-point mark. Then again, it’s slightly possible it doesn’t happen this year, but it will happen sooner or later. Be patient. Quincey looks significantly better than he did last year following his trade from the Los Angeles Kings. He must have had a very productive offseason. He’s playing mean. He’s playing smart. He’s shooting the puck. Get ready!
Nic Zamora, Avaholics Anonymous: Assuming the same top 6 defensemen from last season are the same as this season, Kyle Quincey has the best shot at the 40 point plateau. He started off last season really hot but faded as the season went on. He's still young enough that he can still find some consistency in his game. Finishing last season with 29 points. An 11 point increase is not an unrealistic expectation for someone his age and with his skill set.
Jaye Horbay, Patrick Kane's Loose Change: Can I say Liles? Seeing him climb out of Coach Sacco's doghouse and watching him play down the stretch was the Liles we all thought he could be. From what we've heard about him in Training Camp, he may have turned a corner.
Grant Beery, Hockeyism: No current Avs defenseman will hit that mark.
Aaron Musick, Hockeybuzz: It probably won't be this year but any of the names Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk could do it. However, next season, I think it will be Stefan Elliot or Tyson Barrie who hit that mark. Both have superior offensive skills and both are really adept at running a powerplay, better than Cohen and Shattenkirk.
Mike Verminski, Put It On Ice & The Hockey Writers: Either Liles again or Quincey. I believe both of them were right around 25-30 in points last season, which isn't far off from 40. They are the two most offensively minded defenseman in my opinion, and both were scratched for good stretches of last year's season. Who knows, maybe if they played those games they both might have reached that mark last year. Cumiskey has the speed to rush the puck into the zone but he just doesn't have the skill to finish. So, if I had to pick just one guy I'd go with Quincey because Liles already did it. Pass the torch.
And that'll do it for question five.