I really have no idea what made me think of doing this. A couple of weeks ago, I grabbed the team's all-time stats from NHL.com for my milestones post. Recently, it occurred to me that I could take those 187 players, from Joe Sakic to Michael Gaul (who?) and figure out the statistically "average" Avalanche team. Now, one word of warning: I like numbers, but I'm not a math dork. I am quite certain there is some sort of standard-deviation-slide-rule-sandwich-formula algorithm that is much more accurate than typing "=average" into excel. And, if that sort of mathematical integrity interests you, you should feel free to discuss those at the thriving community, getalifeyoubigdork.com. The rest of us ignoramuses are now free to proceed.
As I hinted above, 187 skaters have dressed for at least one regular season game in an Avalanche uniform (NHL lists the goalies separately, and I didn't bother to include them here). Joe Sakic leads the way with 870. Hejduk is 2 behind, but does have a bit longer to go if playoff games are included...which, in this post, they aren't. 68 players have played 100 games in an NHL uniform, including TJ Galiardi, who got there on Monday, and Kyle Quincey, who was knocked out for the season in his 100th. TJ Hensick only made it to 99, 5 more than Ray Bourque (that's another show). The next Av to hit 100 is probably going to be Ryan Wilson (88). Only 4 players have played just 1 regular season game: Jeff Daw, Dennis Bonvie, Darren Hayder and Gaul. The average player appeared in 114 games in an Avalanche uniform / unipron. Who are the players nearest to those numbers?
- Brian Willsie, 115
- Patrice Brisebois, 113
- Ryan O'Reilly, 117
- Matt Duchene, 117
- Radim Vrbata, 118
- Chris Dingman, 114
Radar and Duchene will be gone from this list in a few games, leaving behind what appears to be a fairly good list of average Avs. Let's see if that works for goals, too.
Oddly enough, Sakic is the team's all-time goal leader with 391. He's one of 7 players to score 100 goals with the Avalanche, a list that grows to 8 once Paul Stastny scores 4 more. All told, 144 players have scored at least one goal for the Avalanche, with Janne Laukanen holding the distinction of scoring one in the fewest number of career games (3). The average number of goals scored per player is, not coincidentally enough, 19. Four players have 19 career goals for the Avs:
- Ben Guite
- Brad Richardson
- Mike Ricci
- Antti Laaksonen
Brandon Yip is currently at 18, as is Darcy Tucker. Meanwhile, Pierre Turgeon is just ahead of the curve at 20.
That Sakic fella is also the team's all-time assist leader, with 624. 160 players have recorded at least one helper with the Avs, including Daw who had an assist in his only NHL game (you'll probably ask who scored the goal - all I know is that it was either Sakic or Radim Vrbata). 33 players haven't managed an assist, the most futile being David Koci (50 games), DJ Smith (34 games) and Sami Helenius (33). At least Smith and Koci scored a goal, though; Helenius has the big goose egg. 33 has come up a few times in this paragraph and, in fact, it's the average assist count for the Avs. 3 players have 33 assists in there career:
- Pierre Turgeon
- Eric Lacroix
- Karlis Skrastins
Radim Vrbata is the next closest to that total with 31 and I felt he had an average enough Avalanche career to be included.
As for total points (yeah, he leads this one too), the average career total with the Avs is 52 points. There are a number of recently familiar names right at that point, including our poster boy above:
- TJ Galiardi (52)
- Cody McLeod (53)
- Scott Hannan (53)
- Pierre Turgeon (53)
- Steve Konowalchuk (54)
I'm skipping over the meaningless +/- to look at penalty minutes, where the career leader is not Joe Sakic (he's 8th). Adam Foote leads the way with 930 and counting. The average Av managed to accrue 91 penalty minutes in his career. And, interestingly enough, one player has exactly that many: David Koci. Other players that are close:
- Brad May (90)
- Uwe Krupp (90)
- Shean Donovan (93)
- Ben Guite (93)
With all of this data in hand, I think we can put together a list of the Avalanche All-Average Team comprised of 3 forwards, 2 defensemen and 0 goalies (the average team doesn't need no stinking goalie). Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being named to this list. In fact, I think you'll find some familiar faces.
The average Avalanche forward played in 116 games, scoring 25 goals, 37 assists (62 points) and notching 96 penalty minutes. It probably goes with out saying, but I would like to point out that, statistically speaking, the least average Colorado player was, in fact, Joe Sakic. The average Avalanche defenseman played in 110 games, scoring 8 goals, 26 assists (34 points) and accruing 82 penalty minutes. John-Michael Liles is the least average, just for the record.
And your All-Average team is:
F Mike Keane - 223 GP, 27 G, 37A, 64 Pts,153 PIM
F Eric Lacroix - 170 GP, 34 G, 33 A, 67 Pts, 112 PIM
F Mike Ricci - 131 GP, 19 G, 44 A, 63 Pts, 152 PIM
D Ruslan Salei - 101 GP, 8 G, 26 A, 34 Pts, 105 PIM
D Kyle Quincey - 100 GP, 6 G, 24 A, 30 Pts, 94 PIM
I didn't know how this would turn out, but I was kind of surprised at how the All-Average team seemed to really nail a group of solid players. These guys weren't (aren't) superstars on the team, but they all filled important roles during their tenure with the club. Even though my math may be suspect, I really enjoyed putting this together, and celebrating some of the meat & potatoes guys that have played with the Avalanche over the years.