The Surprising Colorado Avalanche
By Patrick Hoffman
I have written about a ton of NHL teams since joining this awesome site.
I love covering the league as a whole because I get to write about every team, a lot of players, statistics, and much, much more. I really am a true fan of the league as a whole.
One team that I have yet to write about is the Colorado Avalanche. After having an absolutely horrible year last season, they have rebounded nicely and are having a surprisingly respectable season.
As of this writing (January 9, 2018), the Avalanche currently hold down the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with a 22-16-3 record. The team is also fifth in the ever competitive Central Division, which is not terrible considering how bad they were last season.
One reason why this team is having moderate success thus far is because they were finally able to trade Matt Duchene. Time and time again last season, it was well known that Duchene wanted out of Colorado and when players and the rest of the franchise hears something like that, it is best to move on and only have players that want to be with the club.
Secondly, the franchise has handed over the reigns to 22-year-old Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon is having a dominant season so far as he has racked up 52 points on 18 goals and 34 assists.
The club has also gotten good goaltending from both Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier. In 26 games, "Varly" is 13-9-2 with a 2.87 goals against average, a .912 save percentage and 1 shutout.
Bernier, who was named second star in the league for his play last week, is 9-7-1 with a 2.88 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and 2 shutouts. With Varlamov out of the lineup with a lower-body injury until after his club's bye week, the team was lucky that Bernier has played so well.
Goaltending is obviously extremely important in this league and right now, the Avalanche are getting solid goaltending from both of their guys. If they can keep up this steady play, it will certainly help in the team's push to get a playoff spot.
Lastly, team head coach Jared Bednar has his team committed to playing as consistent as they can. His team works hard at both ends of the ice, consistently puts in good efforts, and is showing their fans that they are not as bad as they were supposed to be this season.
While this team may still miss the playoffs this season, they are at least showing that they are competitive and that they are doing everything they can to stay in the thick of things in a very tough conference.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.