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Avalanche: Fair AND Balanced

It's early, but the Avalanche are presently on a pace to score 328 goals this year. I believe that would be the highest output since the 1995-1996 Pittsburgh Penguins (great team but, for some reason, I don't think they won the Cup that year). While I think it's going to be tough to keep up that frenetic pace (those Penguins had two 60-goal scorers), there is one factor that leads me to believe the high scoring will continue: balance.

At first glance, the Avalanche seem a bit top-heavy in the scoring department. 11 of the 20 goals scored by forwards this year have been from the RPM line. That's a ridiculous 55% of the overall scoring. But, a lot of that comes from the Avs suddenly mighty PP numbers (Hejduk, Stastny and Smyth have 6 PP goals).

At even strength, the Avs are quite balanced:

Stastny, Smyth, Hejduk 5 11 +6
Sakic, Tucker, Wolski 3 9 E
Arnason, Jones, Svatos 2 5 +1
McCormick, Laperriere, McLeod 3 5 -1

That's a good spread. If every line is going to contribute an even strength goal every other game, this team should be in great shape offensively. As an added bonus, the Avalanche aren't just sharing the offensive load. Take a look at the hit totals:

Stastny, Smyth, Hejduk 16
Sakic, Tucker, Wolski 24
Arnason, Jones, Svatos 12
McCormick, Laperriere, McLeod 28

Every line features at least one banger with hits in the double digits (okay, Jones only has 9 hits, but they count as 10 because he hits extra hard). Jones' 3rd line is definitely the weak link on the team, but, for now, the contributions are passably adequate (I copied that phrase from my last performance review).

As long as the Avalanche can roll 4 lines that can score and hit, the Avalanche will continue to be a team that strikes fear into the eyes of opposing goaltenders. All we need to do now is find a way to cut down the scoring against us...