Halfway in the year and it's time to hand out the report cards. Eight staff writers gave a letter grade to each Avalanche forward and I averaged them out. Here are the results:
Patrick Bordeleau - B
|2013 - Patrick Bordeleau||38||4||1||5||3||50||0||0||1||10|
Patrick Bordeleau does what he needs to do. Fights, enforces, and eats up your expected number of minutes for a 4th liner without being a liability. With three goals on his first seven shots and a team leading shooting percentage of 40%, he's no Casper on offense. OK, maybe those numbers are a bit misleading, but for his role you can't ask for much more as one of the league's premier fighters and glue guys.
Marc-Andre Cliche - B+
|2013 - Marc-Andre Cliche||32||0||5||5||2||11||0||0||0||25|
In September, Marc-Andre Cliche was claimed. To many, he was expected to be a no-name depth player. Fast forward 32 games later, and he has proven to be a solid 4th liner with more than solid PK abilities.
Matt Duchene - A
|2013 - Matt Duchene||35||16||18||34||6||11||4||0||3||109|
Matt Duchene has gone through ups and downs throughout his short career, but this season he has finally come of age (although you could argue that this trend began last season and has carried on over). He is stronger along the boards. He is more patient. He is a playmaker. He draws penalties solely due to his ferocious speed. He is a team leader. If he wasn't already before, Mighty Matt is now officially an NHL superstar.
Gabe Landeskog - B+
|2013 - Gabriel Landeskog||37||11||16||27||6||27||1||0||2||108|
Captain Gabe Landeskog continues to epitomize the ‘intangibles.' He is one of the few players on the team who consistently grinds it out on a game-by-game basis, even when he's off-kilter. On a team full of flashy talent, it's easy to forget that he's 2nd on the team in points (11G, 16A).
Nathan MacKinnon - B+
|2013 - Nathan MacKinnon||38||9||13||22||5||16||3||0||3||106|
Nathan MacKinnon is still just 18 years old, and he'll stay that way until next September. Just think about that for a few moments, but make sure to clean up when you're done. On the ice, the kid is so eager to make something happen that it often looks like he's playing hot potato with the puck. There will be few defenseman in the league who can cope with Nate once he learns to manage his elite speed. But the beauty of it? He's already improved since the start of the year. For example, his North-South style of trying to fly his way through defenses is more effective today than it was on day 1. He still gets in over his head, but it's getting better. My absolute favorite aspect of MacKinnon is his fire. When someone pushes him around, he gets angry and his aggressiveness is noticeably heightened. Dare I say he's teetering on Foppa-levels of tenacity?
Brad Malone - INC
|2013 - Brad Malone||5||0||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||3|
Brad Malone has been solid, unspectacular, and at times invisible in his limited role this season. He doesn't have much of a ceiling left, but then again he never really had one to begin with. If he can round out to a reliable 4th liner then he's fulfilled his duties.
Jamie McGinn - C+
|2013 - Jamie McGinn||35||6||5||11||5||17||0||0||1||58|
Jamie McGinn, subject to trade rumors earlier this season, still occupies a unique role on the team despite his critics. A third-liner with capabilities of filling in the top six, he brings physicality and a nose for the net (as well as the fridge). This season, he has not brought it consistently enough.
Cody McLeod - C+
|2013 - Cody McLeod||33||2||5||7||5||74||0||0||0||30|
I can't say I agree with the C+ rating given to alternate captain Cody McLeod - is he really that much worse than his fellow linemates? - but I don't necessarily consider it a stretch either. McLeod is what he is. A great locker room presence with consistent and responsible play out on the ice. Although just how responsible is a puzzling question in and of itself: Yes, he only has two minor penalties on the year, but he also boasts two game misconducts, one 10-minute misconduct, and eight majors.
John Mitchell - B
|2013 - John Mitchell||38||4||9||13||2||16||1||0||1||57|
John Mitchell's versatility as a bottom six forward is among the best in the league. He brings much needed depth scoring, although personally speaking I'd rather keep him away from the PP. When he's not paying attention, Mitchell has the tendency to puck-hog. Sometimes it works, sometimes it turns the ice into mud.
Ryan O'Reilly - B
|2013 - Ryan O`Reilly||38||12||13||25||-1||0||3||0||2||106|
Ryan O'Reilly hasn't adjusted to the wing with flying colors, but he has adjusted very well. He is still perhaps best suited at center, but it's early. He continues to play a hard-working game at both ends of the ice.
P.A. Parenteau - C+
|2013 - P.A. Parenteau||38||9||15||24||-2||18||0||0||1||73|
P.A. Parenteau is considered by many to be a disappointment. He is at times stagnant, particularly with his suspect defensive play. Still, he chips in on the stat sheet a respectable amount and I have a feeling that his loss will sting the Avs more than any of us realize. Heal quick, P.A.
Paul Stastny - B+
|2013 - Paul Stastny||36||11||13||24||5||14||2||0||2||74|
Paul Stastny has experienced somewhat of a revival under Roy. He has even earned compliments from the world's #1 Stastny lover in Adrian Dater. He remains one of the team's most responsible forwards. His leadership, playmaking, and vision also provide some stability.
Max Talbot - B-
|2013 - Maxime Talbot||38||4||7||11||4||12||0||1||1||57|
The Max Talbot-Downie trade has divided the fans. Some love it. Some like it, but feel Roy didn't capitalize on value. Many, including a fair portion around here, absolutely despise the trade. While it is true that Downie offered an utterly unique dimension - the NHL's rare blend of skill and grit - it's also true that Talbot provides stability. He is a phenomenal PKer, he is a great locker room presence, and as history has shown he is a valuable playoff asset. On the flip side, he offers little offensively, and his physical, in-your-face game is a step or twelve below Downie's. It appears that the MHH staff saw both sides, stabbing the fork at a B-.
Alex Tanguay - INC
|2013 - Alex Tanguay||13||3||6||9||8||4||0||1||1||21|
Losing Alex Tanguay has been a huge blow to the Avs. He's slated to come back sooner rather than later, and when he does hopefully the top six will start clicking the way it did at the start of the season.
So how would you grade the Avs' forwards thus far? Let us know in the comments.