With the weekly grades specialist Erza on vacation I will do my best to depict the week that was as your guest evaluator. We saw the Colorado Avalanche go 2-1-0 in their last home stand before the start of a long road trip, which began with a disappointing loss to Florida but two strong showings against Boston and Vegas to put Colorado second in the Central Division with 57 points.
Player of the Week
Valeri Nichushkin - Grade A
With three goals and an assist plus the winning shootout goal against Boston the hero of the week is Valeri Nichushkin.
Leading the team with three goals and technically scoring in every game this week if we include the shootout goal makes Nichushkin the MVP of the week. It was a tough task to unseat the reigning NHL player of the month but the big Russian is on a heater of his own. And this production is in addition to his fierce two-way play, which makes Big Val such an important part of the team. It should be noted all the goals came on the power play and just one point at even strength so there’s still a little room for improvement but it was a solid A effort.
Nathan MacKinnon - Grade A-
Three assists this week feels a little quiet for Nathan MacKinnon after his monster December but where Nate is king this year is with consistency as he extended his now franchise record tying home point streak to 23 games.
Cale Makar - Grade B
The superstar has a modest week by his standards with a goal and two assists. It was a high event week with six goals scored but seven against with him on the ice.
Mikko Rantanen - Grade B+
The big Finn quietly led the team this week with five points including one goal but did most of his damage on the power play. He too had mixed results with seven goals given up but his performance was enough to lead the team to two wins.
Minding the Net
Alexander Georgiev - Grade A-
The week ended on a high note for Alexandar Georgiev and a 25-save shutout against Vegas has to earn him an A. He couldn’t save the game against Florida but put in a solid effort for the win against Boston in a shootout and leads the NHL with 23 wins.
Ivan Prosvetov - F
After not playing for a few weeks Ivan Prosvetov didn’t make it through his whole start against Florida with four goals against on 13 shots. The defense didn’t help him out particularly in the first period breakdowns but he let in a soft goal as the team was mounting a comeback.
Role Player Honor Roll
Logan O’Connor - Grade A
Would you believe that the even strength point leader of the week was none other than Logan O’Connor? Yes it’s true with two goals and an assist he was the only Avalanche player to record more than one point at even strength. In addition to a five-game point streak can’t ask for a better depth goal than this gem from LOC.
Dunce Cap in My Doghouse Dungeon
The injury and flu bug is the baddie this week keeping all of Josh Manson, Bowen Byram and Miles Wood out this week. Boo, go away!
Andrew Cogliano - Grade B+
Not much happened with Andrew Cogliano at even strength this week and he held up his end of the bargain on the penalty kill letting the opposition only get one goal, not bad.
Ross Colton - Grade B-
No points this week but Ross Colton was the creator of a few big chances plus he was on the ice for three Avalanche goals and only one against with passing analytics means he quietly did his job.
Jonathan Drouin - Grade A
As one of the standouts of the week Jonathan Drouin was in consideration for player of the week. He had an excellent week on the top line and scored an even strength goal plus a power play assist.
Sam Girard - Grade B-
As he played more with the defensive lineup in flux, Sam Girard was a steady presence this week and chipped in an assist.
Ryan Johansen - Grade C
RyJo got an even strength assist this week! That alone might be worth a pass for the week but it was an uninspiring performance overall with two shots on goal, two goals against and just 43% on the dot in just under 30 minutes of ice time. Still, the analytics were ok and it could have been worse?
Jack Johnson- Grade C-
With his metrics at 45% across the board it wasn’t a great showing for Jack Johnson but at least he didn’t get scored on at even strength.
Caleb Jones - Grade A
After sitting around for a couple weeks Caleb Jones entered the lineup and gave a solid effort posting some of the highest analytics for the week with a 59% Corsi For and 65% expected goals plus he contributed an assist. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Joel Kiviranta - Grade B+
By doing his job on the penalty kill by not giving up a goal and then only allowing one at even strength with strong metrics at 62% expected goals means Joel Kiviranta had a good week.
Kurtis MacDermid - Grade D+
Inexplicably Kurtis MacDermid played in all three games this week with a grand total of 14 minutes time on ice. He was responsible for one goal against in that time but held up over 50% in his analytics so it wasn’t a total disaster.
Sam Malinski - Grade A
Playing in both of the wins gave Sam Malinski a leg up this week plus he scored a pretty sweet goal against Boston with good analytics. Also was on the ice for three Colorado goals scored and only one against.
Josh Manson - Grade C+
Played in only one game before leaving the lineup to deal with what’s been deemed a minor injury. Unfortunately for Josh Manson that was the Florida game where nobody shined. Though he did score in that game it was also coupled with with a 39% CF in that one and he was on the ice for three goals against.
Ben Meyers - Grade D
Like Manson, the only game Ben Meyers played in was the bad one so that’s not going to help his grade here but bottoming out with a 25% CF and 12% expected goals even in seven minutes of ice time can’t be rated much higher. Staring at the loss of his waiver exemption if he plays one more NHL game forced the Avalanche to send him back to Loveland.
Frederik Olofsson - Grade C-
He only played a little less than 20 minutes at even strength with a 43% CF and 46% xG but Frederik Oloffson didn’t get scored on so that’s a plus.
Jason Polin - Grade C
The latest warm body recall from the Colorado Eagles has recent NCAA signee Jason Polin cashing in on promises and is in the lineup while Miles Wood recovers from the flu. In nine minutes of total ice time not much has happened except for one shot on goal and no goals against so that gets a passing grade.
Devon Toews - Grade C-
It wasn’t the prettiest week in the boxscore for Devon Toews giving up six goals including four at even strength with a 37% expected goals share and no points. Obviously the role he holds on the team is massive and isn’t reflected in such a small sample size but in this microanalysis he can do a little more in coverage to help his goaltenders out.
Team Grade - B+
We can’t ignore that stinker against Florida but the bounce back against two tough teams has been impressive so the Avalanche are trending up for the week. It was nice to see the power play cash in for four goals over these three games and even strength scoring wasn’t carried by the stars.
Good luck to the team on the road, tighten up the defensive play and bring home a few more Ws.