2011 Cap Hit:$1,450,000
After a very rocky start in Colorado following his trade from the St. Louis Blues, Jay McClement found his game a month into the season and never looked back. McClement settled in very nicely as Colorado's sometimes 3rd but usually 4th line center and he became the team's most reliable PK forward with the offensive emergence of Ryan O'Reilly. Often trusted to be on the ice in late game defensive faceoff situations, McClement excelled in the role and finished 44th in the NHL with a 51.3% success rate on faceoffs. On the surprise side, "Silent Jay" chipped in with a very respectable 10 goals, most of which were pretty pretty.
AJ's Take: If the Avs don't bring back McClement, I sure hope there's a good reason for it that doesn't include the word "cheap" or any of its unflattering synonyms. Jay was great for the Avs in playing the role he did and it was obvious the coaching staff trusted him when he was on the ice with O'Reilly in nearly every important defensive situation. His 17 points would be pretty easy to replace but the statistically-difficult-to-define areas of the game he contributes regularly in are not. This was the guy the Avs thought they were getting when he was included in the EJ (dat scrub) trade and the Avs would be foolish to let him walk away.
Cheryl's Take (somehow this didn't make it into the final version. I spent a full two minutes on it! It's going in.): Oh so underrated by so many Avs fans. Want to know why the penalty kill was so much better this year? It had much to do with Silent Jay. Coming in on the trade, he was billed as one of the best defensive forwards in the league. That billing was dead on. The guy was probably the most consistent and reliable player on the team. You rarely saw McClement have a bad game. I wish he garnered more Selke love, but perhaps his fourth line minutes count against him. Of course, I think more weight should be put on the fact he led the team in short-handed TOI, but what do I know? He's a UFA this season; the Avs would be boneheaded not to re-sign him.
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