It’s that time of year. The gyms start to fill up and grocery carts start getting filled with vegetables - until the second week of February. It’s New Years resolution time. We all make them, we all break them, now let’s take a look at the resolutions the Colorado Avalanche and coaches should be making as the calendar turns to 2018.
Mikko is on pace to shatter last year’s point total. With 32 points through his first 36 games, he has proven to be the perfect partner for Nathan MacKinnon.
His point total this season has been incredibly impressive, but it’s not too crazy to think it could be higher. Rants is a very good shooter, he just doesn’t do it enough. His 226 career shots are less than Nathan MacKinnon produces in one season.
Shoot more Mikko - nothing but good will come of it.
Force people to appreciate how good he is
Nathan MacKinnon is really strinkin’ good - we know that. But does the rest of the NHL?
Sometimes it really doesn’t seem so.
Speaking with fans from around the league I very often get the same answer - “Yeah he’s good, but I wouldn’t call him a superstar.”
Sorry, he .is
MacKinnon has been in the top-3 in the league for primary points since November and has single-handedly carried the Avs to respectability this season. He has turned himself into one of the top 5-10 offensive players in the league and is finally living up to the potential many knew he had.
The hockey world will take notice at some point - I suspect it will be during All-Star weekend in Tampa.
Sign an extension
Yak is fun - keep him around for another year or two.
Sure, he can frustrate the crap out of you when he doesn’t have the puck, but on a team that doesn’t have much in the way of secondary scoring, a guy like Yakupov is a good fit as a role player.
Sam Girard, Alex Kerfoot & J. T. Compher
Just keep learning
The three youngsters have shown flashes of brilliance this season. Each one is a key piece to the future of the franchise and as the season goes on, we’ve seen each grow in different ways.
That said, they’re all rookies who will show giant holes in their game just shifts after looking like high-end NHLers.
This season is about building from the ashes. Growing as a team and pushing towards a bright future. Kerfoot, Girard, and Compher have all proven that we can count on them to be a big part of that future - we just need to be patient and allow them the time to grow.
Stop being stupid
He’s one of the more valuable pieces to the team when he’s in the lineup. Landeskog is the captain, the intimidating power forward and a big part of the line that is carrying the team.
Unfortunately, he’s also a repeat offender that is going to get hit harder than most players when he does something stupid like crosscheck an opponent in the head.
Stop being so Jonathan Bernier
Johnny Berns will spend one game looking like a world beater and stealing a game for the Avs. He’ll spend the next looking like a beer leaguer that is filling in after not being on the ice for a year and a half.
“That’s Jonathan Bernier” - yell fans in Toronto and Anaheim
If there’s any way to find some sort of consistency, Bernier could prive to be a valuable asset to Varly and the team.
Take a chill pill every few days
While MacKinnon has been the offensive catalyst to the team, EJ has been the heart and soul. Johnson has been the only real constant on the blueline. He’s been a rock for the team and the kind of big minute top-pair defenseman every team wants.
As a result, he sits in the top-10 in the entire NHL for time on ice per game and trails only Ron Hainsey for PK TOI.
There are shifts where you can see Johnson trying to do too much. Like he has to be the one carrying the shift if he’s on with anyone other than the top line. He’s going to burn out - or worse, get hurt again.
Johnson needs to pull it back a little bit and rely on his defensive teammates a little more, though that has to fall on the coaching staff as well.
Stop screwing with Tyson Jost
Tyson Jost left college after one season in order to begin his professional career as a foundational piece of the Avs’ future. Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan.
The coaching staff has been playing, Jost, irregularly, on the 4th line, and out of position. Usually, teams want to set a young player up in the best way to succeed - Bednar is doing the opposite with Jost.
The 19-year old has shown flashes of his potential this season, let’s hope he’s given more opportunity as the new year goes on.
Try not to laugh at the Ottawa Senators too much
It’s going to be hard, but Joe should keep his bragging about the Matt Duchene trade to a minimum.
Colorado Avalanche Fans
Enjoy the ride
After the debacle of the 2016-17 season, there was nowhere to go but up. Though improvement was inevitable, not many outside of Denver expected this team to be as improved as it is. The Avs are an exciting team to watch and are outperforming nearly every pre-season projection.
Everything is trending upwards.
That said, don’t get carried away. This isn’t a playoff team. They’re at least a year or two away from being discussed as a legitimate threat in the Western Conference.
This team is young, fun to watch and we know the future is very bright. Don’t take this season too seriously. Don’t put giant expectations on the second half of the season. Don’t look too far into the future. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Everyone here at Mile High Hockey would like to wish a wonderful new year to the Colorado Avalanche fans around the world. The team ended 2017 on a high note and there is little doubt that 2018 is going to be a fun year.