When the Colorado Avalanche traded away a handful of key pieces from their 2018-19 lineup, there were some fans who were weary of the moves. Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot were a big reason why the Avalanche were among the highest scoring teams in the league last year, while Carl Soderberg was coming off a career year where he established himself as a high-end two-way center.
So far, the moves have worked out swimmingly.
Soderberg is having a decent year and has helped the Arizona Coyotes become one of the best teams in the Western Conference, but guys like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Joonas Donskoi have more than made up for his absence in Colorado. On the other hand, the two ex-Avs who are now playing in Toronto have looked far from impressive.
As we near the holiday roster freeze, let’s take a look at how these old friends have been doing so far this season.
Carl Soderberg - Arizona Coyotes
33GP - 9G, 9A
While many fans around the NHL are surprised by where the Coyotes sit in the standings, those who have been paying attention for the last few years saw the build to this. Adding veterans like Soderberg and Phil Kessel to a young group has given the Yotes the balanced lineup you need to excel in the Western Conference.
Big Ol’ Carl currently sits second on the team with nine goals, putting him on pace to reach the 20-goal mark for the second straight season.
Tyson Barrie - Toronto Maple Leafs
32GP - 3G, 9A
Barrie is the one that was expected to make the biggest impact on his new team. Desperate for a right-shooting defender, Toronto was set to deploy Barrie as one of their top guys. Things haven’t exactly worked out that way. He saw a bump in production right after the team replaced Mike Babcock with Sheldon Keefe but after his three game goal streak, Barrie has now gone his last six without registering a point.
Alexander Kerfoot - Toronto Maple Leafs
27GP - 5G, 4A
After missing a few games due to comprehensive dental surgery, Kerfoot returned to Toronto's lineup with a Nikita Zadorov-style face shield. The new look hasn't helped. Like Barrie, Kerfoot is on a cold streak, having only one point (an assist) in his last 11 games. Kerfoot is on pace for the lowest point total of his career and has his new head coach moving him over to the wing in an attempt to kick-start his game.
Gabriel Bourque - Winnipeg Jets
17GP - 1G, 2A
After missing a few weeks with a lower-body injury, Gabriel Bourque returned to the Jets lineup this week to fill his role on the fourth line. He’s doing exactly what Avalanche fans remember him for - playing about seven minutes a night and taking away a roster spot from a younger player.
Patrik Nemeth - Detroit Red Wings
26GP - 1G, 4A
Patrik Nemeth is playing more than 20 minutes a game on the worst team in the NHL since...well...you know since when.
The fact that Nemeth is playing such a big role on the team is a good sign as to why the Red Wings have been so bad. He’s a key part of the re-build to help the youngsters come along slowly while Detroit navigates their way towards the best odds in the draft lottery.
Semyon Varlamov - New York Islander
17GP - .926 sv%, 10-3-2 record
Splitting time with Thomas Greiss in New York has allowed Varly to put up some very impressive numbers. What makes his numbers even more impressive is that the Islanders give up among the most shots against per game. Not only do they give up a lot of shots, their high-danger shot attempts at 5v5 rate is 29th in the NHL.
Varly has been healthy and that in itself is pretty amazing.