I know I’m getting way ahead of myself, but hey, it’s a great time to be an Avalanche fan - despite the loss last night. There is a building excitement with fans and the whole league is taking notice. Why do I think they will the Central?
It’s because the Central Division is the worst division in hockey.
Let that sink in for a moment. The division that has widely been considered the best in the league at times over the past few years, has had a horrific start, and that’s all good news for the Avalanche. The Minnesota Wild are in an absolute free fall. The Dallas Stars can’t seem to keep their top guys motivated. The Nashville Predators window is closing rapidly, while the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks have been completely irrelevant. The only team that can keep up with the Avalanche are the Blues, and even then, they are mediocre at best. Again, all good things for the Avalanche and the hope is they can steal as many points from Central Division teams as they can, because there is no way the struggles continue this way all year. Well, unless you are talking about the Wild, then all hope is lost.
Together the Central is 27-27-7 and that winning percentage isn’t going to be improving anytime soon. If you take a look at each one of the teams in the Central Division, it’s hard to make a case for anybody making things challenging for the Avalanche as long as they can stay healthy - let’s keep our fingers crossed for Mikko. So far, there’s been a lot of things working for the Avalanche. But it’s the depth scoring, special teams, and goaltending to credit for the hot start.
Yup, that’s right! The Colorado Avalanche have some serious depth and possibly the best 4th line in franchise history. It’s been a dream of Colorado Avalanche fans over the past couple of seasons, and they finally might be able to roll four lines. For some perspective, the only players that haven’t scored a goal yet are: Mark Barberio, Valeri Nichushkin, Colin Wilson, Ian Cole, Samuel Girard (surprising, since he has been one of the best defensemen so far for the Avalanche), and Cale Makar (also a bit surprising. However, if you’ve watched any of the games, he’ll definitely remind you that he’s a rookie).
To make it even more clear, Ian Cole is leading the league in +/- right now. Just enjoy that, and let it sink in Avs fans—it might not last forever.
When the Avalanche are successful, they are also scoring a lot of power play goals, and it shows. The Avalanche are currently 20% on the power play and 85.7% on the penalty kill. While there’s some room for improvement in both areas, each group has been big in crucial moments of games which is exactly what you need to win.
Along with their depth scoring, the Avalanche are getting some serious help from both Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz. Both have GAAs under 3 and more importantly, they are coming up with big saves at the right time. It’s something the Avalanche have not had recently and it can affect the team from the defense up to the forwards. They have always been in need of a goaltender that can steal games. So far this season, both goalies have done just that. If it continues, this team could be unstoppable.
It’s time for the Avalanche to capitalize as much as they can on teams in the Central Division struggling and rack up points early on. However this all ends up, just enjoy it Avalanche fans, because our time is coming very soon. For now let’s support our boys and let’s win the Central.