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Twitter Tuesday: Face-off flaws, the curious case of Kamenev and the best Avalanche player of all time

The Avalanche are pretty bad on the face-off dot, Carey Price will not be an Av and an update on the Altitude TV stalemate

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NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With Halloween right around the corner, former NHL defenseman and current general manager of the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL Philippe Boucher decided to give his most terrifying and unsettling trade speculation he could think of regarding the Montreal Canadiens and your favorite Rocky Mountain-based hockey team.

He told TVA Sports that “In my opinion, in Colorado, what’s missing to win the Stanley Cup in the next two or three years is Carey Price.” He proposes that the Avs ship Philip Grubauer and Bowen Byram to Montreal for its 32-year-old netminder Carey Price.

And I just don’t know what to say about this one. But here goes nothin’. Let Twitter Tuesday commence.

First of all, let’s start of by saying this is NOT a trade rumor, for trade rumors must have some sort of validity to them, outside of a former NHL player saying “that’s the trade I would make in a perfect world.” Thankfully, Joe Sakic is a wiser man and wouldn’t do something so ill-advised.

So at this stage in the season, I don’t believe Sakic is searching for help outside of the organization. The Avs are doing well, they have plenty of depth and there’s really no reason to seek gaining or giving away assets through trade this early on in the year. But I don’t think that’s your question here.

As far as the Avs’ biggest weakness? I really don’t see any glaring issues. Colorado is in the top-10 in most statistical categories. They’re fourth in the entire NHL with 17 points, they’ve scored the fourth-most goals of any team (44), they’ve allowed the 6th-fewest goals to opposing teams (30), second in goals-for per game, penalty kill is 6th-best, maybe power play could use a little tuning up (13th in the NHL). But across the board, the Avalanche are doing just fine.

The only “issues” are the Avs allowing the fourth-most shots-allowed per game (33.6) and the team is dead-last in face-offs.

Oh look...

Yes. Yes they are. And, honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

You look at the Avs’ record and you can put two-and-two together and find that there really is no correlation between face-off success and winning hockey games. But let’s talk about it for just a second.

Colorado has won just 45.9 percent of its season’s face-offs. It’s a bad look, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Name Kadri is far and away the team’s go-to face-off guy. He’s taken the most draws on the team about a 50-lead margin and averages nearly 15 face-offs per game, four more than Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who is neck-and-neck with Nathan MacKinnon for the team’s second-best face-off man.

Kadri leads the team with a solid 57 percent success rate on the dot. Then there’s a pretty solid drop-off the team’s second-best man. And as Aaron mentioned in the tweet above, Gabe Landeskog, a winger, is the team’s second-best guy at 46 percent. Then it’s PEB and MacK for the third-best rate at 45.2 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

On the note of MacKinnon, he’s never really been great at face-offs, especially given he’s the team’s top-line center. Last season, MacK took the heavy majority of the face-offs and won just 43.7 percent of them. The season before that, much of the same at 41.7 percent of them. But when you look at his game, do face-offs really effect his production in a negative way? So I wouldn’t worry about it.

Again, the team is not great on the dot, but is it something to be concerned about at this point in time in the season? Not at all. No hockey team has ever lost a game because its face-off percentage was sub-50 percent in the game.

For Kaut, I think there’s a zero-percent chance we see him this season. Bowers on the other hand, if he starts hitting his stride down in Loveland and the Avs need help because of injury or anything of that nature, maybe Bowers gets a call. More than likely, however, if the Avs found themselves in a position where they need to call in the cavalry from Loveland, the players who would be receiving a call from Mr. Sakic would be Sheldon Dries or Logan O’Connor or even Erik Condra for a little veteran push.

As far as Conor Timmins goes, I’m not sure he gets anything more than just another trial period later on in the season if things are going well for the team. Or ... knock on wood, fingers-crossed, god-forbid, do a rain dance ... a guy like Cale Makar or Sam Girard goes down with an injury for a prolonged period of time, then maybe they seek Timmins as a need for a two-way defensive asset.

I spoke with Timmins and Avs assistant GM Craig Billington in Loveland last week about his development and they both told me, despite making the team to start the season, playing only 10 minutes a night up there wasn’t going to do much for him, regardless of how exciting it was to be playing in the NHL. The team is more comfortable having Timmins take his time with the Eagles for the time being.

The Curious Case of Vladislav Kamenev.

I really don’t know what to do about him either. He’s a promising young talent that has certainly had a tough go with injuries. He appeared in 23 games last season before another injury sidelined him to the season and up until that point it looked as if he’d earned a solid spot as a depth center playing on the bottom two lines.

But as we’ve preached time and time again, the Avs now have so much depth and part of that was bringing in a few veterans in the offseason to play on the bottom two lines, i.e., where Kamenev usually plays. With those aforementioned veterans doing a great job thus far, Kamenev is stuck not playing hockey in the press box.

I’m curious to know why he hasn’t been sent down to the Eagles to actually play in some games rather than just sitting out in Denver. I could see the team exploring a trade at some point down the road. But as of now, it looks like he’s stuck behind the team’s depth at C.

Well nevermind - the Landy injury changes all that.

From all of those guys on the first part of your list, I think Jost, Burakovsky, maybe Graves and Francouz get contract extensions. The rest are probably headed for free agency/ trade market by the end of the season. Nothing against them, it’s just with all the additional depth and young talent ready to come up the pipeline in the coming seasons, those guys are now expendable.

I don’t think there’s any chance they trade their captain. Like zero chance at all. I just don’t see why they would do that. On the later half of your list, guys like Makar, Grubauer and Landy will all get sizable extensions.

I’m sure for a guy like Makar, Sakic will try to lock him up on the cheaper side of things before his ELC is up, a la Sam Girard. I think Kamenev, Wilson, Nieto and Zadorov are guys that will likely be trade bait. That would be the “salary cap control move” that you mention in your tweet that will make room for all your mainstays to sign extensions.

One can only hope. I’m hoping maybe the Stadium Series jerseys pay some sort of homage to the Quebec lineage. It won’t be their third jerseys, given the Avs have already committed to their current ones. But if the Avs ever get a Winter Classic, it’s Nordiques jersey or bust.

Most NHL fans would probably love to see those beautiful Nordiques jerseys on ice again. I think the only problem may be that there’s intention for a new NHL team or current team to relocate to Quebec City. If that ever happens, then Colorado probably loses its right for a Quebec namesake.

Woah woah woah. “Deadmarch” — props if you get that reference — probably isn’t the best Av ever. That’s a bold assertion.

That said, I’m curious about who you all think is the greatest Avalanche player of all time. Let’s go with this lineup:


Who is the best Avs player of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Joe Sakic
    (288 votes)
  • 0%
    Milan Hejduk
    (6 votes)
  • 42%
    Peter Forsberg
    (257 votes)
  • 6%
    Patrick Roy
    (38 votes)
  • 0%
    Adam Foote
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    ...Adam Deadmarsh
    (16 votes)
608 votes total Vote Now

First of all, to clarify, Altitude is a regional broadcast, it’s not just Denver. It’s available in 10 states total.

I’ll use this tweet to provide an update on the Altitude dispute, however. This is 100 percent on Altitude at this point. Comcast, Dish and DirecTV have all made offers to Altitude to get the Denver teams back on air, but Altitude has declined all of them. At the end of the day, Altitude needs to recognize that its regional broadcast is not really in a position to leverage such big corporations. People are going to find ways to watch and stream regardless, Altitude needs to understand that and end this p*ssing match. It’s just embarrassing for the broadcast at this point.

Here are some quotes from the great Ryan S. Clark from The Athletic in his recent piece about the on-going dispute.

From DirecTV: “Altitude, unfortunately, forced AT&T to remove its channel from our customers’ lineups. AT&T made a fair offer to keep the channel available, but Altitude rejected it. Consumers have made clear they want more choice over the channels they pay to receive in their homes. Our goal is to offer Nuggets and Avalanche games to anyone who wants them most at a value that makes sense to our customers overall. We will not agree to bad deals that do a disservice to our customers, even if it means no longer carrying certain content.”

From Comcast: “We know how much Nuggets and Avalanche fans want to watch their teams this season. We’ve provided Altitude with several proposals to ensure Nuggets and Avalanche fans can enjoy the games, but unfortunately Altitude has rejected them. We would like to reach an agreement with Altitude that’s at a reasonable price for our customers.”

From Dish: “We don’t hate sports and we don’t hate sports fans, but we have to look at all of our consumers. What it boils down to is we have to pay on a minimum number of subscribers, which is in the high double-digits and a slim minority of customers actually watch the programming. That model over the years has been what it has been, but in the new world where customers are looking for alternatives and questioning value, we think it’s fundamentally unfair that the vast majority of our customers are going to have to subsidize the minority of customers who actually want this content. Really, there is a breaking point in the model.”

Your move Altitude.

More questions? Hit me up on Twitter @0ffScottFree and I’ll see you next Tuesday!