|2010 - John-Michael Liles||76||6||40||46||-9||35||3||0||0||163|
Final Grade: A-
Midseason Grade: A
Last Year: A-
Vitals: 5’10" / 185 / Age 30 / Shoots Left / Sagittarius
Drafted by Avalanche, 5th round (159th) of 2000 Draft
Joined Avalanche: 2003-2004
MHH Nicknames: Hot Pocket, Johnny Hot Pocket, Beachie’s Boyfriend, Male Model, JML
· O’Byrne 54gp 6g 24a 30p -8
· Holøs 7gp 0g 4a 4p -3
· Cohen 3gp 0g 1a 1p Even
· Quincey 3gp 0g 1a 1p +3
· Gaunce 2gp 0g 2a 2p +1
· Johnson 2gp 0g 0a 0p -1
· Shattenkirk 2gp 0g 0a 0pt -6
· Foote 1gp 0g 1a 1p Even
Avs with Liles in the lineup: 29-39-8 (.434 Pt%) 2.81 GF 3.49 GA
· TTOI 22:00 (2nd)
· ES 17:43 (2nd)
· PK 1:03 (13th)
· PP 3:13 (1st)
Career Highlights: In October, 2010, Liles set an NHL record for defensemen, recording an assist in each of the first nine games of the season. For the fifth consecutive season, he led all Colorado blueliners in points. With 275 career points, he is now the highest scoring defenseman in Avalanche history, followed by Sandis Ozolinsh at 253. Liles also led the Avalanche in blocked shots with 153
Report: Liles was often the best defender on the ice this season, especially before Erik Johnson was acquired. His offensive numbers through the first half earned him Norris Trophy consideration, and his defensive play was better than it’s ever been. As always, his work ethic was stellar, and he was clearly a strong leader for the team. As soon as it became clear that this would be Footer’s last year, Liles became a front-runner for being the next Captain of the Avalanche. As happened with the rest of the team, Liles’ production fell off and defensive play faltered in the second half of the season. Much of this was due to the fact that he and O’Byrne were saddled with top-pairing duty after injuries whooped ass on the team. As good as he is, Liles is not a 1-2 defenseman and putting him in that role did him no favors. He was second on the team in TOI, averaging 22 minutes per game, and was played in all situations. He held up admirably, but the responsibility and expectation was clearly too much for a defenseman of his skill set. Still, he ended 3 points shy of a career high in points and bested his previous high in assists by 5. Not too bad of a season, really, considering the dismal nature of the team post-All Stars.
Fun Fact: In addition to hockey, Liles lettered in golf during high school. Although a lot of hockey players enjoy the sport, Liles has a deep passion for it. That, combined with significant skill, has brought him recognition in the golf world. In 2009, he was named to Golf Digest’s top 150 athlete golfers, coming in the highest of all CO athletes at 12th. His handicap at the time was 0.8.
The JML Drinking Game: Take a shot every time the camera zooms in on Liles for a close up. Drunk potential: Hide the Sharpies from your friends.
What We Said Last Year: Liles did what he was paid to do this season, he was a force on the power play and the leading scorer among defensemen despite playing the least amount games out of the top seven. His defense can be careless at times but I still never understood why Sacco scratched him so much.
2010 Cap Hit: $4.2 million (limited NTC)
2011 Status: Signed through end of next year
Outlook for Next Season: There’s no reason to think Liles will fall off in quality or production next season, especially if he’s able to play that second-pairing position for which he’s best suited. In fact, as oft happens in the final year of a contract, we may see even more effort from the defenseman. Unless he gets the C – and maybe even if he does – expect more trade rumors, though. Liles has yet to play a season in the NHL without his name being tossed around by, well, everyone as a likely trade deadline move. As has happened in the previous seasons, however, I think we’ll continue to see Johnny Hot Pocket in an Avs’ sweater, not only for all of next season but beyond. A two-year contract with a hefty discount would not surprise me at all.
Next Up: David Liffiton