Final grades: DEFENSEMEN

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A couple disclaimers before we get rolling with the grades: I was pretty tough on the team. And Dater is a copy cat. 

 

Adam Foote

#52 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-2

Weight: 220

Born: Jul 10, 1971 (38 years old)

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

36

0

5

5

+6

48

-

0

0

0

15

0.0

2nd Half

31

0

4

4

+2

16

-

0

0

0

11

0.0

Total

67

0

9

9

+8

64

19:21

0

0

0

26

0.0

Playoffs

6

0

1

1

-4

10

21:22

0

0

0

6

0.0

The Captain threw down a solid season for the Avalanche. His offensive numbers have taken a dip in his second stint with the club that drafted him back in 1989, but remnants of his legendary defensive game are still there. Footer is a stay at home defenseman that uses his strength to dominate opponents. His style still works, assuming he doesn't have to chase anybody to apply it. Although Foote's overall game and on-ice contributions have declined with his advancing age, he was a great captain for the Avalanche, and the right choice to follow Super Joe. His playoff performance left something to be desired (his missed hip check on Little Joe was the play that broke game 6), but based on his role as captain, his solid (albeit slow) defense, and the guidance he provided for the Young Guns, Foote enjoyed a positive season. I think he'll come back for at least one more season, and I'll welcome him back with open arms (at a lower, more appropriate salary).

Mid Season Grade: B+                                                                                            2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                                B__small__medium

Dustin's TakeI love Foote but I think his time is done. If I were giving him a grade purely based on playing it would be in the low C range. He is too slow to be a very effective defenseman and though he often pinched at opportune times, he never did get a goal. As the captain, I think he did an admirable job. He was nasty and very protective of the young guys. His contributions to leading this team back into the playoffs should not be overlooked. I'd be sad to see him retire but it is probably the right move for him and the team.


Scott Hannan

#22 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-1

Weight: 225

Born: Jan 23, 1979 (31 years old)

Status: One year left on current contract @ 4.5 million per year

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

41

2

8

10

+11

20

-

0

0

0

24

8.3

2nd Half

40

0

6

6

-9

20

-

0

0

0

29

0.0

Total

81

2

14

16

+2

40

21:55

0

0

0

53

3.8

Playoffs

6

0

0

0

+3

4

22:32

0

0

0

3

0.0

I gave Hannan an "A" at the mid season (which he earned), but his play in the second half fell off considerably - and not just his offensive numbers. Take a look at that plus/minus differential. It's ugly. He went a -9 in the last 40 games. Which is still much better than his -22 from last year, but the Avs need and expect more from their 2nd most expensive player. And the Hobitt's partner maintained a positive +/- in the second half, so Quincey can't be blamed for Hannan's decline. I know I'm gonna get crap for Hannan's low grade, so let me say: he's not bad by any stretch, I know he's good. But shouldn't he be better? He isn't a young newbie or an old fart, and he's expensive. He has no excuses. And a "B-" is still above average.

Mid Season Grade: A                                                                                       2010 FINAL GRADE: 

                                                                                                                          Bminus__small__medium

Dustin's Take: I am kind of tough on Hannan because with Foote slowing down he is the best defensive defenseman the Avs have right now. Over the first half of the season he was excellent at shutting down opposing players and he even tossed in some offense. Like Quincey, as the season wore on his offense disappeared and his defense became suspect. Since they were partners I'm not sure if one of them started sucking so the other looked bad trying to cover for him or what. He was solid during the playoffs but part of that atrocious 32 shots against per game should be laid on his doorstep.

 

Kyle Quincey

#27 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-2

Weight: 207

Born: Aug 12, 1985 (24 years old)

Status: Restricted Free Agent, eligible for arbitration

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

41

4

15

19

+5

39

-

1

0

0

73

5.5

2nd Half

38

2

8

10

+4

37

-

0

0

0

66

3.0

Total

79

6

23

29

+9

76

23:36

1

0

0

139

4.3

Playoffs

6

0

0

0

+2

8

22:06

0

0

0

14

0.0

Hannan's defensive partner for the majority of the year was Kyle Quincey. And like Hannan, Quincey faded in the 2nd half. When I look at Hannan and Quincey, they sure look better as a #2 defensive unit than a #1. BMF put up 6 points in his first 5 games, and had two or three similar stretches later in the season, which smacks of inconsistency. I'd say his biggest drop was on the PP. He started out being a main component of the top unit, and by the end of the year he was battling Brett Clark for PP ice time. That's not the direction one should ever travel. Still, KQ is young and has a lot of upside. His scant 2nd half and playoff performances mean the Avs may be able to resign him at a cheaper than previously predicated salary, which could prove to be a huge win in the long run. He finished 2nd on the team in +/-, so that keeps him above Hannan, but he still needs to be more consistent, more badass, and take less lazy penalties.

Mid Season Grade: A-                                                                                         2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                              B__small__medium

Dustin's TakeQuincey was amazing over the first half of the season. I seriously thought he was going for 40+ points in addition to playing great D and dishing out some nasty hits. Then he went cold on offense, then he started playing some terrible defense. I remember the March 1st game against Detroit, he was downright pathetic. On the ice or in the box for all of the Wings' goals. He picked up his play in the playoffs and I think he can be a solid second-pair defensman. I was going to give him a B+ but I saw the 76 pim and recalled that he took quite a few dumb and untimely penalties.


John-Michael Liles

#4 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 5-10

Weight: 185

Born: Nov 25, 1980 (29 years old)

Status: 2 years left on current contract @ 4.2 million per year

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

28

3

11

14

-3

10

-

2

0

0

45

6.7

2nd Half

31

3

14

17

+1

20

-

1

0

2

51

5.9

Total

59

6

25

31

-2

30

18:27

3

0

2

96

6.3

Playoffs

6

1

1

2

-2

4

19:00

1

0

0

14

7.1

Hop on the JML rollercoaster, sponsored by the Wheel of D! Liles endured what had to be one of the toughest season's of his career. He was scratched, benched, and maligned by Sacco for much of the season. Liles played in a career low 59 games. In Sacco's defense, Liles was the only regular defenseman to finish with a negative +/-. To say he turned his play around is kind of odd, because he never was truly awful in my opinion. But, he did ratchet up his play to the next level in the 2nd half (including his +/-), and I think that's all Sacco was really after. Despite all the drama, he still managed .53 points per game (which is just slightly above his career average of .51), and led all defenseman in points for both the regular and post seasons. Liles got better as the season wore on and he was the Avs best defenseman in the playoffs. He was also tied for 2nd in shots in the playoffs behind only Chris GD Stewart.

Mid Season Grade: B-                                                                                        2010 FINAL GRADE: 

                                                                                                                         Aminus_2_medium 

Dustin's Take: Liles did what he was paid to do this season, he was a force on the power play and the leading scorer among defensemen despite playing the least amount games out of the top seven. His defense can be careless at times but I still never understood why Sacco scratched him so much. The way he was able to bounce back after each scratch was impressive though. Clutch play carries a lot of weight with me so it was those two games that he was spectacular in late in the season that bumped his score from a B+ to an A-.

Ryan Wilson

#44 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-1

Weight: 207

Born: Feb 3, 1987 (23 years old)

Status: One year left on current contract @ $551,667 per year

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

30

2

7

9

+8

15

-

0

0

0

19

10.5

2nd Half

31

1

11

12

+5

21

-

0

0

0

27

3.7

Total

61

3

18

21

+13

36

16:16

0

0

0

46

6.5

Playoffs

4

0

1

1

-1

0

14:39

0

0

0

2

0.0

Another young Avalanche defenseman with a boat load of potential, Ryan Wilson owned a mini break out of a season (and he was supposed to be leftovers in that trade for Leopold). He busted onto the scene dropping players with monster hits like Avs fans haven't seen since......it's been too long.  Wilson was 3rd among all Avalanche blue liners in points and LED THE TEAM in Plus/Minus! Not bad for a rookie. Unfortunately for Wilson and all us fans, he suffered two concussions this season, limiting his action and his ferocity a bit. Hopefully he'll be recharged and ready to lay some fools out come September. It's not really fair, but had he not missed time and been slowed by those injuries, he would have nailed the "A".

Mid Season Grade: B+                                                                                         2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                             Bplus__small__medium

Dustin's Take: Ryan Wilson is pretty damn good. It was nice having a defenseman again who could lay down some bone-rattling hits. Plus, he can score! Seriously, a great rookie season for Wilson and he should become a solid member of the Avs' defense. He seemed to have some trouble coming back from that concussion but let's pray that he comes back next season 100%

 

Kyle Cumiskey

#10 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 5-10

Weight: 187

Born: Dec 02, 1986 (23 years old)

Status: One year left on current contract @ $600,000 per year

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

25

3

4

7

+1

8

-

0

0

0

29

10.3

2nd Half

36

4

9

13

-1

12

-

2

0

1

45

8.9

Total

61

7

13

20

0

20

19:47

2

0

1

74

9.5

Playoffs

6

1

1

2

-7

2

22:37

0

0

0

3

33.3

There's a lot to like about our resident Road Runner. Like Mike Haynes overstated all year, "man it is fun watching him skate, Peter". Cumiskey is in the NHL because of his skating ability. He's been short-changed in previous season's because of injuries, and maybe his slight frame is to blame, but if he can stay healthy, refine his offense decision making, and improve in his own end, he will become a great NHL defenseman. And he appears to be very capable of making those strides. Cummers shared the post season lead in points among D-men with Liles, but he also had the worst playoff +/- on the team by a solid margin. He also averaged more ice time in the playoffs than all other Defenseman. Wow.

Mid Season Grade: B+                                                                                       2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                            B__small__medium

Dustin's TakeI go back and forth on Cumiskey. He is fast and gifted offensively, that OT goal he scored was the prettiest of the season for the Avs (Brett here: said video is featured above), but he often seems completely ineffective when the puck is hemmed in his own zone. Players like Scott Neidermayer have shown how dangerous a fast, smooth-skating defenseman can be. Cumiskey led all Avs defensemen takeaways already and if he gets better at things like that, Cumiskey can become one of the Avs best defensemen. He is still young, so I am really hoping he can pull it all together. Right now, it is frustrating watching flashes of genius from him.


Brett Clark

#5 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-0

Weight: 195

Born: Dec 23, 1976 (33 years old)

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

41

1

12

13

+2

16

-

1

0

0

52

1.9

2nd Half

23

2

5

7

+4

12

-

1

0

1

23

8.7

Total

64

3

17

20

+6

28

19:08

2

0

1

75

4.0

Playoffs

1

0

0

0

0

0

17:55

0

0

0

3

0.0

Oh, Brett Clark, you started the season so well! You passed your previous season's point total in half as many games, you led the league in blocked shots, you didn't suck. Even in the second half, you maintained most of your statistical numbers (finished 2nd in blocked shots), but something seemed wrong. And by the end, you were a healthy scratch more often than not. Despite his passable stats, numbers (excluding Corsi of course) don't always tell the whole story. Don't worry Avs' fans, Clark is an UFA and his $3.5 million dollar days - along with his unipron - are LONG gone.

Mid Season Grade: B                                                                                      2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                        C__small__medium

Dustin's Take: I don't like Clark and I never have. His 20 points this season were decent but I still feel like a goal is going to be scored whenever he is on the ice. Clark is a shot blocking machine but he relies on that way to much. He rarely stands up at his own blue line or challenges the puck carrier. Hands down the worst defensemen that saw major minutes with the Avs.


Ruslan Salei

#24 / Defenseman / Colorado Avalanche

Height: 6-1

Weight: 212

Born: Nov 02, 1974 (35 years old)

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

TOI

PPP

SHP

GWG

S

S%  

1st Half

1

0

0

0

-1

0

-

0

0

0

0

0.0

2nd Half

13

1

5

6

0

10

-

0

0

0

22

4.5

Total

14

1

5

6

-1

10

18:46

0

0

0

22

4.5

Playoffs

1

0

0

0

0

0

21:54

0

0

0

0

0.0

I feel bad for Salei. His situation this season was really absolutely horrible. He was injured for the majority of the year, and even when he came back he was the odd man out in terms of rotation, chemistry, style of play, etc., etc.. He never got a chance to get comfortable. He put up 6 points in just 13 games, but he never played very well in his limited action. He and his inflated contract will both be leaving on a jet plane.

Mid Season Grade: INC                                                                                    2010 FINAL GRADE:

                                                                                                                          C__small__medium

 

INCOMPLETES:

Tom Preissing: 4 games played. Status: 1 year left at $2,750,000

Wes O'Neill: 2 games played. Status: RFA

Derek Peltier: 3 games played. Status: RFA

 

SUMMARY:

The Avalanche Defense improved over last season, but mostly because of Andy and the additions of Quincey and Wilson. The returning players didn't make any huge leaps from last year, which is disheartening. Your best players need to be your best players and the Avs have no "best", nor strong consistency along the blueline. We've seen Hannan, Quincey, Liles, Foote, Wilson and Cumiskey all play their games and dominate, but never consistently. If the defense can pull it together individually, there is a fantastic core unit there to work with. And with the upcoming young players in the system, the future for the Avs D is promising (although I wouldn't mind trading in one of the plethora of small puck moving defenseman for a big F-off type D-man).

Dustin's take: Overall, the Avs have a lot of good pieces in Liles, Cumiskey, Quincey, Wilson and Hannan. But the Avs defense is missing a true star to pull them all together like an Ozolinsh or a Blake. Liles is the only game changer they have right now and that is only when he is playing like a mad man. Cumiskey has the talent maybe but not the motivation from what I have seen. Look at the top defenseman from the other Western playoff teams: Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith, Christian Erhoff, Ed Jovanovski (Keith Yandle is also very good), Nick Lidstrom, Drew Doughty and Shea Weber. I am hoping that Shattenkirk is all that scouts have promised and more because a star defenseman could be the key to putting the Avs over the top.

 

RECAP:

  • Foote: B
  • Hannan: B-
  • Quincey: B
  • Liles: A-
  • Wilson: B+
  • Cumiskey: B
  • Clark: C
  • Salei: C
Miscellaneous Team Stats for the 2009-2010 Colorado Avalanche:
The Good: 6th in blocks, 4th in take-a-aways, 6th in Goals scored, 8th in +/-
The Bad: 25th in Shots allowed,  23rd in hits,  29th in Face-off %,  21st in PK
The OK: 15th in PP, 17th in GA,
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