3 Avalanche Tendencies to Look ahead to in 2022

One other 12 months is within the books, and 2022 now adorns our calendars, reminding us of the everlasting march of time. Past being extra aesthetically pleasing than 2021, 2022 additionally represents the unofficial second half of the 2021-22 NHL season, with round a 3rd of the marketing campaign offering a strong base of data to investigate because the league vaults into a brand new 12 months. Listed here are three fascinating developments to control for the Colorado Avalanche in 2022 because the franchise hopes to ship on its apparent Stanley Cup potential. 

Colorado’s Pink-Sizzling Offense Main NHL 

Regardless of continuously trotting out an incomplete lineup by way of the primary third of the season, the Avalanche offense has picked up the place it left off final 12 months, as soon as once more main the league in targets per recreation. Their present scoring fee (4.22) is sort of half a aim larger than the following finest group within the Minnesota Wild (3.74). The distinction between the Avalanche and Wild in first and second is akin to the hole between second and the ninth-place Toronto Maple Leafs (3.27), highlighting the extent of Colorado’s fearsome firepower.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Their absurd ending effectivity is driving the Avalanche’s vaunted offense, however they nonetheless rank extremely in shot- (seventh) and scoring-chance era (sixth) at 5-on-5. If the group is ready to run out a constant lineup for the remainder of the season, it follows that their improved chemistry ought to keep, if not ramp up, the tempo. That they’ve managed to attain so typically at the same time as Nathan MacKinnon is within the midst of a big taking pictures stoop (4.5 % conversion) is an efficient search for the group’s supporting solid.

Mikko Rantanen (14), Cale Makar (13), and Andre Burakovsky (12) prepared the ground in targets, whereas Nazem Kadri paces the Avalanche in factors (38) as their offensive compass. If the franchise is to beat the shakiness of their goaltending group, their assault should proceed firing on all cylinders.  

Ineffective Penalty Kill Limiting Avalanche 

With out a pair of trusted particular groups, guaranteeing prolonged playoff success is subsequent to inconceivable. Whereas Colorado’s contingent of offensive stars implies that the facility play isn’t a difficulty (tenth in effectivity), the penalty kill is a special story. Regardless of being tied for the league lead in shorthanded targets (six), the Avalanche are the uneasy house owners of the Twenty sixth-ranked penalty kill, efficiently killing off solely 75.6 % of opposing power-play alternatives. The offseason departure’s of defenseman Ryan Graves (second in common ice time whereas shorthanded) and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (ninth) loom massive, and their absences have depleted final season’s eighth-best penalty kill.

Associated: 3 Avalanche Commerce Targets To Repair Penalty Kill 

Though a part of the unit’s struggles is owed to their netminding (twenty third in save share on the penalty kill), they haven’t made it straightforward for these manning the crease. They concede an inordinate variety of high quality alternatives (twenty seventh in anticipated targets in opposition to per-60), probably owing to the truth that they give the impression of being to take higher positional dangers for the potential of a shorthanded aim. It hasn’t labored out as anticipated, however the logic underlining the technique is sound.

Utilizing historic precedent will help groups establish potential areas of enchancment, and the Avalanche are not any totally different. It’s a small pattern and there are a selection of conflating elements at play, however 4 of the NHL’s final 5 Stanley Cup winners boasted a penalty kill that ranked inside the top-half when it comes to effectivity within the common season.

Crew Penalty Kill Effectivity (%) NHL Rank
Tampa Bay Lightning (2020-21) 22.2 9
Tampa Bay Lightning (2019-20) 23.2 5
St. Louis Blues (2018-19) 21.1 10
Washington Capitals (2017-18) 22.5 7
Pittsburgh Penguins (2016-17) 23.1 3
Penalty kill success fee of the previous 5 Stanley Cup winners

It’s not a obligatory requirement for going deep into the postseason, however possessing a dependable penalty kill is a typical trait shared among the many most profitable groups come playoff time. For a aggressive Avalanche membership, addressing their potential Achilles’ heel have to be a precedence within the months forward.

Shaky Goaltending Trigger for Concern in Avalanche Web 

When the Avalanche traded for Darcy Kuemper this previous offseason, it was unlikely that they anticipated the inconsistency that has plagued his first season in Denver. Even in opposition to the backdrop of Colorado’s sturdy defensive construction (fifth in scoring probabilities and anticipated targets in opposition to per-60 at 5-on-5), the former Arizona Coyote is underperforming relative to expectations (minus-1.8 targets saved above anticipated per MoneyPuck). 

The remainder of their goalie carousel hasn’t fared a lot better both. Every of the 4 netminders to have featured within the Avalanche internet this season have allowed extra targets than anticipated, undermining Colorado’s live-wire offense. One of many 4, Jonas Johansson, was lately claimed by the Florida Panthers, which reduces the group’s already restricted variety of choices.

Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche-3 Avalanche Trends to Watch for in 2022
Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche (Photograph by Michael Martin/NHLI through Getty Photographs)

It hasn’t considerably damage them up to now, however normal supervisor Joe Sakic needs to be considering whether or not a commerce is in the very best pursuits of his membership’s speedy future. Neither Kuemper nor backup Pavel Francouz are signed past this season, and their numerous struggles with well being and on-ice play undercut any future contract discussions. For a Stanley Cup favorite, that’s lots of uncertainty to hold into 2022. 

What Does 2022 Have in Retailer for the Avalanche? 

Despite a barrage of accidents and COVID-related absences, the Avalanche lead the NHL’s Central Division in factors share. With Nathan MacKinnon inching nearer to a probably earth-shattering contract extension, and key contributors in Kadri and Burakovsky angling for hefty new contracts of their very own, 2022 is likely one of the group’s ultimate makes an attempt at a Cup earlier than the wage cap throws a wrench of their aggressive timeline. The early returns are promising, however do the Avalanche finally have what it takes to carry a 3rd championship to Colorado? 

Knowledge courtesy of Hockey ReferenceMoneyPuck, and Pure Stat Trick.