With 80 games remaining in the 2019-20 Colorado Avalanche season, it’s important to remember not to draw any sort of conclusions about the team. But of course, that would take away all the fun of being a sports fan. Instant reaction happens - we just need to temper expectations. We know the team isn’t going to go 82-0 and that Mikko Rantanen isn’t going to score 123 goals.
It’s also important to remember that the negatives we have seen though the opening week of the season aren’t necessarily anything to worry about - particularly when the numbers show they might not be negatives at all.
Through the first two game, one thing that has been noticeable for the Avalanche is that their offense hasn’t been as reliant on the top line. Newcomers Joonas Donskoi and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare have added goals while holdover J.T. Compher has looked dangerous both on the powerplay and at even strength.
One player that hasn’t seen his name on the score sheet is Tyson Jost - the former 10th overall draft pick that many Avs fans are hoping can have a breakout season this year. After putting up a disappointing 26 points in 70 games last season, Jost has been moved to the wing on the second line to play alongside Nazem Kadri in an attempt to spark some offensive production. Without a point through the team’s first two games, Jost’s is a name that has come up among a segment of the fan base as one of the negatives for that Avs - and it’s unwarranted.
The numbers show that Jost has played really well, he’s just been unlucky - at least from an offensive perspective.
While playing at even strength, Only Andre Burakovsky has a better shot share than Tyson Jost. The difference is that Burakovsky is being deployed in a very favorable way - he’s got a team leading 83% offensive zone start rate. In contrast, Jost has a oZone start rate below 50%. More often then not, Jost is starting his shift from a defensive perspective and he’s sill be able to help create shots-for at a positive rate. That’s impressive, even if the puck hasn’t been going in for his line.
Jost isn’t just on the ice for shot attempts, he is generating them himself. With six shots on net, Jost only trails Nathan MacKinnon (10) and Mikko Rantanen (7) among Avalanche forwards. The shot production is even more impressive when you factor in ice time. On a per 60 minute basis, no Avalanche player is generating shots at a higher rate that Jost even though he’s being deployed in a more defensive role. His shot attempts are up from last season and right now that’s all the team should be looking for. The goals will come.
Keeping expectations temperate is always a good thing but from what we’ve seen so far, there’s not reason to think Jost can’t exceed his previous career highs of 12 goals and 26 points.
Still only 21-years old, Jost has been seen as a bit of a disappointment thanks to his draft pedigree. As a result, people tend to focus on the negatives in his game. Through the start of this season, the coaching staff is showing they have faith in him - the fans should as well.
Despite what the eye test might be telling us, Tyson Jost has been really good through the week of the season. It’s a tiny sample size but it’s a welcome sign for a young player that needs to show growth in his development this season. If he keeps playing like he has early on, there’s no reason to bet against the offensive breakout. It’s coming.