Aug 19, 2013, 12:22 PM EST
One thing the Avalanche weren’t very good at last season was preventing opponents from scoring goals. They were 27th in goals allowed which was a leading reason why they wound up in the NHL Draft lottery and picking first overall.
A big part of the blame for that fell on their defensemen. Bad news Avs fans: Not much has changed back there.
The two subtractions from last year’s team were Shane O’Brien and Greg Zanon. The latter was brought in to be a defensive stopper and failed to do much stopping at all. Meanwhile, O’Brien struggled to get into the lineup most of the season.
The only addition made to this year’s team was Cory Sarich who came over in a four-player swap with Calgary and he played rough third-pairing minutes on an equally defensively inept Flames team. He also wasn’t very good.
There are a couple of young guys who offer hope and will get thrown into the fire more this season.
Tyson Barrie is just 21-years-old but he led the team in average time on ice over his 32 games (21:35). Incredibly, he also led all defensemen in points with 13. His advanced numbers were strong which means he could (should?) see more responsibility on the blue line.
Likewise, Stefan Elliott, 22, should get more time this season. In 18 games last season he had a goal and three assists and, like Barrie, put up respectable advanced numbers. The play of those two made it acceptable to part ways with Zanon and O’Brien.
Johnson should be the best of the bunch but has never taken the reins as a true No. 1 defenseman. Hejda is their “defensive stopper” and Wilson has a steady all-around game. Benoit and Hunwick could wind up fighting for the sixth spot with Sarich.
Long story short, it’s a flawed bunch with a pair of hopeful youngsters and a third, Duncan Siemens, waiting down the road. Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere had better be ready for another busy season in goal.
Dec 18, 2013, 10:43 AM EST
Boston forward avoids supplemental discipline.
Dec 18, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
GM George McPhee said it was “a great hit.”
Dec 18, 2013, 9:18 AM EST
Pittsburgh has won nine of their last 10.
Dec 18, 2013, 8:20 AM EST
That and all the links to start your day.
Dec 18, 2013, 1:21 AM EST
A relative unknown is now the hottest goalie in the NHL.
Dec 17, 2013, 11:26 PM EST
In more ways than one.
Dec 17, 2013, 11:07 PM EST
Only one point separate these teams now.
Dec 17, 2013, 10:39 PM EST
Brutal stuff for Evgeni Nabokov & Co.
Dec 17, 2013, 10:23 PM EST
Both teams’ differing streaks continue.
Dec 17, 2013, 10:03 PM EST
Florida’s entourage wins fourth in a row.
Dec 17, 2013, 9:33 PM EST
Notice a theme tonight?
Dec 17, 2013, 9:21 PM EST
His boarding hit could draw more than a minor penalty.
Dec 17, 2013, 8:47 PM EST
The Ducks star managed to return.
Dec 17, 2013, 8:00 PM EST
Dec 17, 2013, 7:09 PM EST
Mark Fraser in, Frazer McLaren out.
Dec 17, 2013, 6:32 PM EST
He was injured against Ottawa on Monday.
Dec 17, 2013, 5:47 PM EST
“It’s all about hard work, and it goes to everyone.”
Dec 17, 2013, 5:00 PM EST
“It’s all good signs. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Dec 17, 2013, 3:48 PM EST
As illustrated by the picture.
Dec 17, 2013, 3:27 PM EST
All the latest from the blue paint…
- Martin Jones gets another shutout, remains undefeated 14
- Video: Tom Wilson gets tossed for charging Brayden Schenn 54
- Video: Kyle Quincey ejected for boarding Ryan Getzlaf 16
- NHL on NBCSN: Third time’s the charm for Flyers vs Capitals? 8
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head 71
- Potter suspended two games for boarding Bonino 3
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension 107
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver 101
- Pittsburgh’s special teams have been pretty good; Florida’s not so much 3
- Flyers blow 4-1 lead, Caps win in shootout 25
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Janssen: Orpik should’ve fought Thornton, then ‘everything would have quieted down’ (123)
- Bylsma: Neal needs to learn from Marchand hit (114)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (101)