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Sam Girard is the latest target of toxic fandom

It’s Mile High Hockey Lab time, and we just released our 12th installment!

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Some Colorado Avalanche fans seem to have redirected their out-of-touchness to defenseman Samuel Girard as this season approaches the deadline. Many jumped to the defense of the small-framed 24-year-old when a still shot of the crowd surfaced showing an Avalanche fan donning a reverse-retro jersey while holding a sign with all-black letters that read, "Trade Girard." Some, however, joined in with similar sentiments, showing how ruthless fans can be.

In this week's Mile High Hockey Lab episode, we conducted a live poll with some tongue and cheek intentions. It's no secret that Colorado should see Bo Byram and Josh Manson's return after the All-Star break. With that, the defensive group will get an upgrade, and players like Andreas Englund, Kurtis MacDermid, and Jacob MacDonald will be pushed down the lineup and back to the AHL. We sent out a live poll with those names that belonged and one that didn't when asking who the Avs should scratch or send down. Here's the poll:

This week's host Ezra Parter and the entire MHH panel of writers were frustrated but not surprised to see Sam Girard getting nearly 10% of 700 votes. That means almost 70 Avalanche fans and MHH followers think Sam Girard should leave the lineup. What gives?

Sam Girard went from playing in Shawinigan in the QMJHL to playing five games with the Predators to being a part of a blockbuster trade that immediately slotted him into the Avalanche lineup for 68 starts at just 19 years old. He's a six-year vet approaching 400 games played for the Avalanche. He is a 0.41 point-per-game defender, just two goals shy of tying his career high in a single season.

With that, he's never really been a goal scorer but primarily a creator. Sam Girard has two assists in his last five games and is a plus-one. Even if you don't take plus/minus seriously, it looks like his production is improving now that he can create for actual finishers. Also, Josh Manson was brought in for the specific role of Sam's D partner. I expect an uptick in Girard's assist totals once he does return.

I get it; some fans need a scapegoat, and what used to be the Tyson Barrie treatment has now landed on the shoulders of another smaller defender. I think it’s time to find something real to be concerned about. This Avalanche team is made for clean breakouts and high-speed hockey.

Don’t forget to listen to this week's episode for even more Avalanche talk! Like, subscribe, and share! All episodes are broadcast live on our YouTube channel, so head over there and subscribe.