It’s not a secret that the Colorado Avalanche (5-1-2) have had a depth issue over recent years. Sure, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen can manufacture their fair share of goals, but the Avalanche have had their fair share of secondary scoring troubles for a long while.
This year, or at least in the small sample size of games I have to base this article off of, the Avs seem to have found some success in scoring besides the top line. IF the Avs can maintain their secondary support, this team may find themselves being able to compete with the best that the Central Division has to offer.
Obviously, the top line has put in a ton of work for the Avalanche, scoring 32 of the teams 71 points they have racked up in just seven games. This, of course, includes Gabriel Landeskog’s third career hat trick against the then-undefeated New Jersey Devils (4-2-0). Landeskog himself has gotten himself 10 total points with five goals and three assists. BUT I digress. Nipping right at the heels of Landeskog is forward Alexander Kerfoot with six points. Kerfoot finished fifth in points scoring on the team with 43. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, that is until you compare to Landeskog yet again and realize that Kerfoot still had 19 points separating him and Landeskog (third in team points).
Side note: The difference between third place in scoring on the Nashville Predators (P.K. Subban), and fifth place (Roman Josi) was just 6 points.
The major drop off scoring hurt the team throughout the season, especially in the first half. Without the 10 game winning streak in December into January, the Avalanche would not have had any sliver of a hope to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This season, although less than an eighth of the way through, has hinted that the difference of scoring between lines will not be the the same rift as seen in last year’s team.
Instead, it’s been superb play from Kerfoot and Carl Soderberg, especially on the powerplay, that has fanned out the scoring spread.
Right now, the Avalanche power play is ranked 13th in the league with eight power play goals at 25.8%, five of the goals coming from the secondary scorers. Last year, the top line nearly doubled secondary goal scoring on the power play.
As the points currently sit, both Soderberg and Kerfoot have three power play points. Soderberg has a goal and two assists. Sitting just behind them with two power play points are J.T. Compher, Tyson Jost, Samuel Girard and Collin Wilson. MacKinnon and Rantanen have two points as well.
This team is peppered with a plethora of youth talent in its bottom lines, and it appears that this year, the youth are finally honing in their skills as NHL athletes.
Yet, even more impressive, still has been the secondary’s ability to score away from home. In the five road games this season, the Avalanche have put up 18 goals, dropping only one game in regulation.
The bottom line, the Avalanche were a good team last season that needed a lot of help and got it from other teams to make the postseason. The Avalanche mat only be about a tenth of the way into the season, but if the Avalanche can continue to manufacture scoring from the lower lines and ease the burden of the superstars, the Avs find themselves sitting a position to take make that final push to be perennial playoff team, even while being in the stacked Central Division.
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