The Colorado Avalanche have become almost infamous for the discrepancy in talent between their top line and their bottom nine.
There’s still plenty of potential from their young players in the middle six, but the drop-off is steep; while Nathan MacKinnon already has six goals in five games — and finished last season 54 points ahead of the team’s highest-scoring forward not on the top line — there’s a noticeable lack of supplementary scoring outside of Alex Kerfoot, Carl Soderberg, and hopefully Tyson Jost.
To rectify this, the team made their first waiver claim of the season on Monday. They added Marko Dano from the Winnipeg Jets — and while he may not have played yet so far this year, his underlying numbers suggest this could be a great add. [Mile High Hockey]
While he was joining the team, the NHL was giving Nathan MacKinnon a bit of the spotlight — and it absolutely couldn’t be cuter:
Meanwhile, the team is set to play the New York Rangers later today.
I won’t go into detail about that matchup, because that’s what the preview is for later. Still, I think we should spend a moment just sort of staring at this... situation:
So far 8 of 21 players have been healthy scratched, with guys going from 4th line to 1st line and top pairing to 3rd pairing. There's no chance they think this is, long-term, a viable method of lineup construction. This is clearly an extended preseason of sorts.— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) October 15, 2018
The Rangers know what they are. They’re in deep rebuild mode, and they’re owning it.
But still... woof.
Speaking of horrifyingly bad, Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad is in absolute free-fall:
I covered the Blackhawks last year, so I saw him plenty. This decline is accelerating this year, but it’s nothing new; he was struggling last year, too.
It’s tough to put a finger on exactly why, but it’s not great news for Chicago.
[For subscribers to The Athletic, here’s a long look at what may be going on with Saad.]
This is the last I’ll share about Chicago, by the way, but this is a fairly hilarious look at why the team is willing to work with the absurdly creepy mannequins that have been standing in for
Connor Murphy the blue line at practice. [NHL.com]
A few thousand miles south of Chicago, Dallas’ Alexander Radulov has morning skates all figured out:
Radulov redefines the optional skate pic.twitter.com/nl3aexVQsa— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 14, 2018
Whatever level of chill you have to be in order to pull this off without a hitch, that’s the level I aspire to be.
And speaking of fun, Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov has lots of it:
Get you a goalie who can do this ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ahmhwHiD50— Saginaw Spirit (@SpiritHockey) October 15, 2018
Finally, if you speak Swedish (or enjoy using Google translate), this is a fun look at how Maxime Lajoie has come out of seemingly nowhere to take the league by storm — on a team that no one expected to be doing anything at all right now. [Hockeysverige]