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Morning Flurries: Avalanche remain undefeated and the NHL eyes another World Cup

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82-0, why not?

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Colorado Avalanche Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Two down, 80 to go. An undefeated season is realistic right?

It was another fun game for Colorado Avalanche fans at the Pepsi Center. Two goals from Colin Wilson, a Hart worthy performance from Nathan MacKinnon and monster outing from Erik Johnson led the Avalanche to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. For those of you that missed the game, check out the complete recap here.

The Avalanche are off to the start they wanted - and needed - as they look to navigate through the toughest division in hockey.

The win is good news, this is potentially not:

You never want to see a player going for x-rays, but when it’s your captain, everyone holds their breath. Hopefully it was just a precaution and the Landy is ok. We should know more by Monday when the team hits the road for their game Tuesday night in Columbus.

As Tyson Jost prepared for the game against the Flyers, Ryan Clark of The Athletic spoke with him about Dave Hakstol - the head coach during Jost’s time at the University of North Dakota. Listening to Jost, you can tell Hakstol had a big influence on his game and left a big impression on the young Avalanche forward. [The Athletic]

There’s a long standing argument among Avalanche fans; Is Tyson Barrie actually good?

We all know he’s an elite offensive threat from the blueline, but there are those who don’t think it makes up for his “defensive deficiencies”. SPORTLOGiQ - a hockey data research company - has released their list of the top-20 defenders in the NHL over the past three seasons. Coming in at #19: Tyson Barrie.

Tyson Barrie is actually good
SportLogIQ ranks Tyson Barrie as the 19th best defender in the NHL

“If the Colorado Avalanche were going to rebound from their historically bad season in 2016-17, you had to think Tyson Barrie was going to need to find the offence he lost that year – and he sure did. Barrie was absolutely dynamic in 2017-18, notching the second-highest offensive impact of any defenceman last season, which was built around his playmaking. He was a primary assist machine for the Avalanche at even strength and on the power play, a perfect complement to Nathan MacKinnon’s rushing style.

In transition, Barrie has been virtually the same player each of the past five seasons. He’s great at carrying the puck up ice and rarely resorts to dumping the puck out, but he can get into trouble by making defensive zone passes that are too dangerous. He doesn’t make as many mistakes overall in the neutral zone, though, and is a nice boost to his team’s attack.”

Check out the complete list of the top-20 defenders in the NHL here.

Who is No. 1?

Erik Karlsson - the guy many fans said they didn’t want the Avs to trade prospects for over the summer.


The Prospects

Brandon Saigeon continues to prove he’s too good for junior hockey. He got his 13th point of the season last night in only his sixth game. That’s good enough for a ties at the top of the OHL with 2019 NHL Draft eligible Ryan Suzuki.

Cale Makar had two assists in his preseason opener last night for UMass. Can’t wait for this NCAA season to finally get underway.

Out in the WHL, Nick Henry finally scored his first goal for the Regina Pats. Hopefully this is the first of man.

When Nikolai Kovalenko fell to the 6th round of the 2018 NHL draft, most believed that it was because he was likely to stay in the KHL. The “Russian Factor” led to a player with top-50 talent falling to the end of the draft. The Avalanche took the risk and it’s starting to look like it could pay huge dividends.

Kovalenko came over to participate in development camp this summer- something that is a very good sign - and many in the Avalanche organization believe he will be a full time NHLer after a few years of development in the KHL.

Here is an interview with the 18-year old that goes over everything from being the son of a former NHLer to his superstitious pre-game rituals. [KHL-Eng]


Around the Hockey World

Last season it was the Avalanche that went over to Sweden to play a two-game series in front of the fans in Sweden. This year it’s the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers. The Two got the season underway yesterday afternoon and one thing is for certain; the Oilers are who we thought they were. [NHL]

I keep getting told by Flames fans that Mike Smith is a good goaltender despite evidence speaking to the contrary.

Down in Florida, there’s more bad news for one of the best goalies of this generation. Roberto Luongo left last night’s game with a lower-body injury after Frank Vatrano fell on his right leg. Hopefully it’s not serious, but after missing large chunks of the previous two seasons with injuries, this is not something we want to see.

Luongo is nearing the end of an elite NHL career, so hopefully health doesn’t force him out earlier than he wants.

It’s it’s been a tough start to the season down in the desert. The Arizona Coyotes may never score a goal. After their first two games, the Coyotes are out-shooting their opponents 71-45, but have nothing to show for it. The team is 0-2 with zero goals for. That’s definitely some bad luck. What’s the record for the longest goalless drought to start a season? Asking for a friend who has to sit through Yotes home games all season.

Yesterday Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk spoke about relishing the underdog role (lol) and that he plans to be around long enough to see the team turn things around. That’s bad news for Senators, but good news for any teams that own an Senators first round draft pick [Sportsnet]

It sounds like the NHL is eying a return best-on-best international tournament.

The issue here is that it’s all contingent on labor peace. That’s a problem, since it seems very likely that we’re going to see another lockout.

Finally, it’s four months later and I’m still not over MacK getting robbed of the Hart.