Worn Without Pride: What Being Young Really Means for the Colorado Avalanche

Dustin Bradford

A semi-statistical analysis of the Colorado Avalanche followed by a impulsive denunciation of certain gentlemen.

The Colorado Avalanche have looked more like the Colorado Snowflakes this season and while I do enjoy the soft touch and brief tingle of a symmetrical ice crystal in the real world, I don't enjoy it out on the ice. What I do enjoy, however, is finding out how basic physical and mental aspects - namely age, experience and body size - correlate with quality of play.

Below you'll find a table with a list of all 30 NHL teams ranked by average age (Avg. Age). Included alongside is the total sum of regular season games played by all players of a single team throughout their careers (Reg. Season GP), ditto for playoff games played (Playoff GP), and just for kicks I included a "23-" and "+33" stat: 23- tallies how many players a team has aged 23 and under. +33 does the same but for players 33 and up. Later on you'll also find some numbers that reveal which NHL team is the biggest and which is the smallest. Not included is Jamie McGinn's weekly calorie intake. It wouldn't fit.

No stat overwhelmed: the oldest teams don't always play better and the bigger teams don't always hit harder (although generally speaking size and experience favor a team, duh). Nevertheless, there are enough interesting trends and figures to fill your Tuesday cup of hockey.

Team

Avg. Age

Reg. Season GP

Playoff GP

33+

23-

1

Columbus

26.1

7,112

311

2

8

2

Toronto

26.5

6,558

253

0

3

3

Los Angeles

26.6

7,899

877

1

6

4

Ottawa

26.8

7,633

642

4

7

5

St. Louis

26.9

8,254

563

4

5

6

Colorado

26.9

7,054

435

3

5

7

Winnipeg

26.9

8,364

306

1

6

8

Minnesota

27.2

7,480

440

3

5

9

Carolina

27.2

7,164

424

1

3

10

Edmonton

27.2

9,368

417

5

9

11

Buffalo

27.2

8,142

554

1

6

12

NY Rangers

27.4

9,116

742

3

5

13

Washington

27.5

9,325

796

3

5

14

Chicago

27.5

8,701

854

4

4

15

Nashville

27.7

7,987

717

3

5

16

Dallas

27.7

8,913

638

4

8

17

Anaheim

27.7

8,611

533

3

5

18

Pittsburgh

27.8

8,645

886

5

5

19

Montreal

27.8

8,308

620

5

4

20

Boston

27.9

8,422

885

4

3

21

Vancouver

28

9,193

844

1

3

22

San Jose

28.3

10,324

1,195

6

2

23

Tampa Bay

28.4

9,402

715

6

5

24

detroit

28.5

9,439

1,204

7

4

25

Philadelphia

28.6

11,080

1,032

6

6

26

Calgary

28.6

9,481

481

5

3

27

Phoenix

28.6

9,977

622

4

3

28

NY Islanders

28.6

7,524

259

8

6

29

Florida

29

10,242

705

9

4

30

New Jersey

29.1

10,189

1,120

7

5

data recorded February 8th


An Avalanche of Numbers

Colorado is no longer the youngest team - it's now Columbus. New Jersey, on the other hand, retains their grandfather status from a year ago. Here are some other trends:

The five teams with the least regular season experience are the Maple Leafs (6558), Avalanche (7054), Blue Jackets (7112), Hurricanes (7164), and Wild (7480). Thanks, Duke, for single-handedly saving the Avs from being the least experienced.

The five teams with the most regular season experience are the Flyers (11080), Sharks (10324), Panthers (10242), Devils (10189), and Coyotes (9977).

The five teams with the least post-season experience are the Maple Leafs (253), Islanders (259), Jets (306), Blue Jackets (311), and Oilers (417). Carolina (424) and Colorado (435) come in at 6th and 7th, respectively. And the award for the most pathetic playoff division goes to: the Northwest Division. Four of the bottom eight teams are all from the NW. Also, after Hejduk and Giggy, Chuck Kobasew is the Avs most seasoned playoff performer. Chuck Kobasew.

The five teams with the most post-season experience are the red wings (1204), Sharks (1195), Devils (1120), Flyers (1032), and the Penguins (886).


High as a Jet, Fat as a King

Not only are the Winnipeg Jets a young team with some emerging weapons - to say nothing of their logjam on defense - but they are also the NHL's "largest" team measuring in at an average height of 74.1" (1st in the NHL) and an average weight of 208.6 lbs (3rd in the NHL). At 8th in the league in hits (289) and in the upper half for blocked shots (165), the Jets aren't afraid to play tough.

The Los Angeles Kings, meanwhile, are the fattest. They bite in at 209 lbs on average, and it shows: they are the 5th most physical team with 316 hits. But they are still a little hungover from their Cup celebrations: LA is dead last in blocked shots with a mere 100.

If the Jets are the largest, the Calgary Flames are the "smallest" team in the league. They measure in at 72.4" (only the Canadians are shorter - 72.2) and 197 lbs (30th). Pair that with a 29th ranked hit total (171) and 28th ranked blocked shots total (134) and we are talking about a team whose candle is burning out.


Shifting to Burgundy and Blue

The Avs are mostly standard as far as team sizes go: 72.8" for height and 202.7 lbs for weight. But make no mistake - size matters. And here are two reasons why.

First off, why do you think their PK at home has been a fortress? The Avs are first in the league with 207 blocked shots. And who are the warriors taking in these pucks? The big boys. Erik Johnson (29 blocked shots), Jan Hejda (27), Greg Zanon (26), and Ryan O'Byrne (21) have all put their size and weight to good use this year. Mitchell is the best blocking forward with 12.

Second, Jamie McGinn is fat. No, seriously: The Avs are top 10 in the league for hits. And, you guessed it, McFatty himself is the most physical of the bunch with a respectable 27 hits. Rounding out the top five are Hejda (24 hits), Patrick Bordeleau (23), O'Byrne (21) and Mr. Stitches (20).

As far as blocked shots go, you can never block enough. But hits? It's not about how often a team can hit, but when.

Don't believe me? Just ask the Chicago Blackhawks. They are a runaway last in hits (159) yet they hold a nearly flawless record. Key to their success is finding the right time to punish the opposition, and that means discipline.

The Avs are far from disciplined. They are a team that constantly comes out of the gates flying only to give up the first goal. In turn, they tend to take stupid penalties. Complain about bad calls all you want but the fact of the matter is the Avs have to avoid these boneheaded boarding, roughing and slashing calls we far too often witness. 208 penalty minutes is no fluke, and neither are the scoring minutes lost from it.

The Blackhawks, on the other hand, carry just 141 penalty minutes. They don't check often but they check smart (see: Brent Seabrook), they check clean (see: Bryan Bickell) and they eventually score goals.


Coming Full Circle

I wrote this article to compare changes from last year when I wrote a similar piece calculating these same trends. I was going to use these last few paragraphs to tie all these stats together. To express my glowing optimism for the Avs in the wake of hard times. However, and through the course of writing this, my positivity began to wane. I started asking myself questions - so they are a young team, so what? So they are really good at blocking shots, whoop-dee-fucking-doo.

These tables point to youth and these statistics point to indiscipline, but there is perhaps no fact or figure apt enough to show the magnitude of inexperience and stubborn-shelledness exuded by the management and coaching.

In other words, I'm beginning to reach my boiling point as an Avs fan. The optimism is still there - the Avs are still so young and the injuries they've faced this year are uncannily beyond fair - but, at this moment in time, I just don't know what to think. I see a young team whose

I am a terribly spoiled Avs fan. We all are. Two Stanley Cups upon the franchise's arrival will do that to a fanbase. So, I have no shame in demanding excellence at all times. In hard times, especially.

I demand excellence in Stanley E. Kroenke. But when an entire legion of Arsenal F.C. fans from across the pond are calling for his head, I begin to wonder if us Avs fans should do the same.

I demand excellence in Greg Sherman. But when a general manager labels the Avs as a rebuilding team then proceeds to burn a bridge with one of its youngest talents, I begin to wonder if this "bite-the-bone-or-scram" negotiating gimmick is what I want to get used to.

I demand excellence in Joe Sacco. But when a young coach is expected to lead a young team after years and years of failure, I begin to wonder if the time for change is now.

I want to demand excellence in Pierre Lacroix, but does he even exist anymore?

When you spend hours analyzing and pouring your heart and soul for a team, you start to wonder what the hell any of it really means. I typically go heavy on the burgundy kool-aid, but it's nice to drink with a glass half-empty from time to time. It's nice to demand excellence. Right, excellence. Something the Colorado Avalanche have not seen in a very, very long time.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Mile High Hockey

You must be a member of Mile High Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Hockey. You should read them.

Join Mile High Hockey

You must be a member of Mile High Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker