Colorado’s crew of centers will lead the way
Say what you will about the Colorado Avalanche but one thing you have to admit is they’re loaded with talent up the middle.
They were already a strong team last season at the center position with Paul Stastny, a revitalized Matt Duchene, and a retained Ryan O’Reilly. This summer they added No. 1 overall pick in the draft Nathan MacKinnon and suddenly the Avs aren’t lacking for scoring ability anywhere at the pivot.
With four guys who could run the show at center, coach Patrick Roy already said he was relieving the logjam by moving O’Reilly to left wing to relieve the pressure. It’s a good problem to have if you’re a first-time NHL coach but it shows how much the Avalanche have going for them.
As it is, Roy mapped out how he sees his top three lines as is and it looks good.
Alex Tanguay - Paul Stastny - Gabriel Landeskog
Ryan O’Reilly - Matt Duchene - P.A. Parenteau
Jamie McGinn - Nathan MacKinnon - Steve Downie
If MacKinnon comes as advertised, the Avs are rolling with three lines that can put the puck in the net. McGinn has shown the ability to finish and Downie, who’s returning from injury, can score a little and get rough as needed.
There’s a lot to like about what the Avs have going up front and the kind of production they got from Duchene (17-26-43) and Stastny (9-15-24) last season shows the top two lines will be well taken care of. Duchene and Parenteau each had 43 points last year. A healthy Landeskog and Tanguay should help Stastny pick up his offense.
If nothing else this season, the Avs will be able to score goals in bunches.