Rocky Mountain Highs (and Lows)

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 02: Ryan O'Reilly #37 of the Colorado Avalanche picks himself up from the ice after being tripped by Radim Vrbata #17 of the Phoenix Coyotes at the Pepsi Center on November 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Coyotes defeated the Avalanche 4-1 as O'Reilly scored the only goal of the game for the Av's. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Every year, I like to take a quick peek to see which Avalanche players set new career highs and lows. This year was not a stellar one for most players not named O'Reilly or Varlamov, but I'm a sucker for tradition. Enjoy the rainbow, folks!

Career Highs:

Ryan O'Reilly, of course, used his breakout season to set new highs in goals (18), assists (37) and points (55)

Semyon Varlamov set career highs in appearances (53), wins (26), losses (24) and shutouts (4). During the year, he played in his 100th NHL game and recorded his 50th NHL win.

Shane O'Brien tied his career best in assists (17) and PP goals (one). His 20 points was one off from his career top of 21.

Jan Hejda tied his previous best goal total with 5. His -17 +/- rating was a career low, however.

Ryan Wilson set a new career high in assists (20) and tied his previous high in points, with 21. Oddly, Wilson had a career low 31 penalty minutes - in part because he had just 7 after the all-star break.

Jamie McGinn set new high-water marks in goals (20), assists (17) and points (37). Interesting side note: McGinn has been a minus player in each of his 4 NHL seasons.

Speaking of +/-, Cody McLeod who set a new career high in +/- with...0.

Steve Downie set a new personal best for assists, with 27.

Career Lows:

Matt Duchene set new career low marks for goals (14), assists (14), points (28) and +/- (-11). Yes, he was injured. However, his .48 point per game would have him on pace for just 39 points over a full season. Barf.

Erik Johnson had a career low number of goals (4), points (26) and PP goals (1)

Paul Stastny's 32 assists, 53 points and -8 +/- were all the 2nd lowest totals of his career.

With 14 points Chuck Kobasew set a new low for points (excepting his 23-game rookie campaign)

The great Milan Hejduk matched a new low with 14 goals, after 12 straight 20-goal campaigns. He set a new low for assists (23) and points (37). After the 2008 season, Milan Hejduk had a career +/- of +156 and had never had a negative +/- on the year. Since then, he's been a -48 and has fallen from 2nd on the franchise +/- list to 5th.

Firsts:

Stefan Elliott scored his first NHL goal in his debut game, November 26th against Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk. The goal, assisted on by Ryan O'Reilly, would be the eventual game winner.

Tyson Barrie scored his first NHL point. Twice. And then had his first NHL point taken away by the scorekeeper. Twice (in consecutive games against Calgary and Columbus).

64 games after arriving in a trade, Matt Hunwick finally broke open the floodgates with his first goal in an Avalanche unipron on February 24th against Columbus. The pressure off, Hunwick would go on to score twice more in the next 12 games.

NHL Debuts:

Gabriel Landeskog: October 8th (Detroit)

Stefan Elliot: November 26th (Edmonton)

Brad Malone: December 9th (Edmonton)

Tyson Barrie: February 7th (Chicago)

Mike Connolly: March 4th (Minnesota)

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