It's that frightful time of year again where we break out our dusty abacus, protractor, corsi calculator and Coors, to haphazardly evaluate our beloved Avalanche. This year grades were compiled by committee. The MHH crew huddled together in a dark Arby's basement somewhere in the frigid Midwest to throw darts at a board, and thus you have our 2010-2011 mid-season grades! Today we grade the goalies and then hopefully the defense and forwards in the coming days (Budaj below, after the jump).
#41 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche
Born: May 21, 1981 (29 years old)
|Through 41 games||23 (23 starts)||1,307
|Through 41 games||34||2034||19||9||5||91||2.68||1087||996||.916||3|
PC's Report: Despite his decent game last night, Anderson has not been the savior he was last season. Granted, the team in front of him hasn't exactly been a model of defensive hockey, but even with that taken into account, Andy has not performed up to expectation or even his own ability. He's fallen from MVP to mediocre. Many of us asked for Budaj to get more starts, and he has, but unfortunately it seems to be happening because of Andy's substandard play rather than to rest our hero. As bad as that sounds, Anderson hasn't sucked. He still logs good games and good stretches, but he hasn't been the model of consistency that he was the first half of last season. He isn't stealing games, and you need your goaltender to be a thief sometimes. Not Fun Fact: The only goalie statistical category which Andy falls within the top 20 is PIMs, with 4.
Beachie: I debated about this one as his GA is due to less than stellar play by the defense as well as his performance. In the end though, Andy just hasn’t been the go-to guy he was last year. He has proven he can play better than he has been. Yet, his .904 save percentage isn’t something about which to weep, and some games must have been affected by the injuries. He needs to step it up from here on out, though, if he expects to get that contract he wants and keep his #1 ‘tender status. As it is, he’s an above average goaltender, but only slightly.
DDC: Pssst. Hey Craig, it’s a contract year.
Sandiegee: He has played 23 games and has 11 wins. His goals against is 3.13 (edit: before the feenicks game), last season his GAA was 2.64 and the year before he was at 2.71.
Dustin: I think the injuries have caused Andy problems beyond just the obvious. His timing and positioning are off and I bet he is having confidence issues. He is not the rock the Avs need him to be.
Mike: Seeing some inconsistencies this season that weren’t present last season (until the team-wide post-Olympic swoon). Not sure I’ve seen the same fire at times this season. Maybe the grind of playing behind such a lackluster D is getting to him mentally? Also, at least one of his injuries this season was a direct result of pre-game stupidity that he had complete control over.
CONTRACT STATUS: UFA this summer. Last year of 2 year deal at $1,812,500 p/year.
OUTLOOK: He's in a contract year here, with perhaps his only shot at a big pay day, so expect Anderson to return to form and show his true colors soon, and for that glorious chroma to blind the opposition in a ravenous rainbow of redemption.
#31 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche
Born: Sep 18, 1982 (28 years old)
|Through 41 games||20(18 starts)
|Through 41 games||
PC's Report: While his numbers will never put the gem in your donut, Budaj deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team afloat while Andy and others went down with injuries. Budaj went 6-3-1, 2.62 GAA, .914 save%, and 1 shutout in Anderson's absence. He also has played in twice as many games at this point in the season than last season's mid-point. His save% and GAA numbers however are much lower than his devilish stats at this point last year, and slightly below his career marks too, but his W-L record is undeniable. Boods has earned 23 points for his team out of the possible 36 points from his starts (math?).
Budaj, like the Avs, has performed well at even strength but not so hot on the PK. He has some issues on his glove side, rebound control, and lets in too many short-side goals for my liking, but he battles hard and often, and wins ugly games. Mike Haynes once said that Budaj always seems to be one save better than his opponent, and while that may not be pretty or easy on our blood pressure, Budaj gets the job done more often than not.
DDC: If he could just stop that one soft goal a game, he’d be a star. Then again, so would a lot of other goalies.
Sandigee: The difference between Andy and Budaj for me is expectations. Budaj is expected to be the backup and Andy is expected to be number one. Yet (edit: they both)
Budaj have a GAA of 3.03 this year.
Dustin: Boods has done everything you can expect from a backup, filling in admirably for Andy. He's given up softies, yes, but he hasn't been losing games for the Avs.
Mike: Pretty much who we thought he was so far this season. Steady, sometimes scary good, sometimes scary bad. Sweet lid as usual.
Beachie: Despite lower goals against and save percentage numbers than Anderson, Budaj has been a solid back up and helped his team stay competitive in the standings while the injuries piled up. I still think he can do better than he has and his rebound control needs to improve before he could be attractive to another team as a number one goaltender. He’s getting the starts he deserves and the guys in front of him trust him enough to still play their aggressive style, an improvement from last year. He remains an averagely skilled goalie, though, at this point. He gets the plus for stepping up in some big moments this season.
CONTRACT STATUS: UFA this summer. Last year of 1 year deal at $1,250,000.
OUTLOOK: Tough to say. Last year a lot of people thought Budaj would ditch Colorado in hopes of battling for a #1 spot elsewhere. But Boods returned and he has proven to be one of the best back ups in the NHL. He brings so much more than just his game play. He's the consummate back up, a great teammate, and has programmed a virtual scouting report on goalie's and player's tendencies into his Slovak computer brain. He's a bargain at just over a million and a quarter, and with the goalie market not very friendly these days, look for him to stay put until Pickard is ready a few years down the line.
Goalie Summary: Both goalie's numbers have taken a dive from last season, yet the team itself hovers close to the same point pace. And while both Budaj and Anderson haven't looked like themselves all the time, I don't think you can fault them entirely. The D has had a rough time stringing together very many solid 60 minute performances, or staying healthy (same goes for the forwards), regardless, both goalies need to be a little sharper in the second half if the post season is our final destination.