What’s the best way to get in a groove on your new team? Fill the net. Evan Rodrigues has been taking this advice to heart, sometimes a bit too literally (sorry Igor).
Entering his first season with the Colorado Avalanche, expectations for Rodrigues were all over the map. His 2021-22 season was so sporadic and streaky that it was hard to pinpoint what exactly he would bring to the Avalanche production-wise, but many knew his style of play would fit in well.
Four games into the season that’s all Rodrigues had going for him. His first four games were riddled with trips to the penalty box and long stretches of unnoticeable play, and many Avs fans began to write him off as a potential second-line player for Colorado. About 48 hours later many of those write-offs began to be rescinded when Rodrigues showed his stuff against the Seattle Kraken. In the Avs’ 3-2 loss, Rodrigues tallied his first as an Av, but more importantly, he was a consistent offensive threat.
Evan Rodrigues hits the one-timer to score his first as an Av! pic.twitter.com/6THIPd6siU— NHL (@NHL) October 22, 2022
Rodrigues continued to push play and be dangerous for the Avalanche offensively as the team possessed an expected goals of 1.9 in the Seattle game and the two following when Rodrigues was on the ice. However, this offensive danger didn’t come without reward.
In the two games following his “breakout” game, Rodrigues scored a power-play goal against Vegas and the game-winning goal in the shootout in New York (which some would argue should count as a goal.)
Evan Rodrigues' game-winner in the shootout was FILTHY pic.twitter.com/ePQjwirbOs— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 26, 2022
The lack of goal-scoring was the big flaw in Rodrigues’ play in the first few games of the season. He was playing a solid two-way game, and still is, but wasn’t getting on the scoresheet enough to justify his role. Since that has started to move in the right direction it is easy to start to get back on the E Rod bandwagon as he now has four goals.
While goals are great, Rodrigues has yet to register an assist this year, largely due to his running mate, Alex Newhook, being unable to finish some quality opportunities Rodrigues has given to him. While Newhook scored against the New York Islanders for his first of the year, Rodrigues didn’t assist him. But, hopefully, he will begin to rack up more and more points, and in turn, give more confidence and comfortability in the Avalanche system linking up with Newhook.
Regardless of Newhook’s lack of finishing, it might be beneficial for Rodrigues to get a look next to Nathan MacKinnon on the first line as he did against the Isles. The Avalanche have had a problem with their depth offensively and a swap of Rodrigues and Rantanen could get the most out of Rodrigues and Newhook.
We saw when Rodrigues was at his hottest last year was when he was playing with talent, something MacKinnon has a lot of. MacKinnon also has a long track record of being able to play with players of any talent and Rodrigues’ speed pairs nicely with MacKinnon’s.
It’s encouraging to see Evan Rodrigues begin to find his goal-scoring stride, let’s hope he will keep this play up down the stretch.