Woof. Ouch. Yikes. A series of expletives.
When looking at the 2016-17 season for the Colorado Avalanche, a wide array of responses seem reasonable.
They generated 21 fewer standings points that any other team, scored 17 fewer goals than anyone else, and were the only squad with more than a -100 goal differential. “Historically bad” is a perfectly fair label for the 2016-17 squad.
Overall, there wasn’t much to take from the season that passed. At least Jared Bednar gets some time to gather his wits? Mikko Rantanen looked pretty good. For better or worse, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog remain on the roster.
The summer saw some churn, yet the roster hardly looks much better heading into 2017-18.
Defense remains, remarkably, maybe an even larger problem. Nikita Zadorov has his issues, yet his lack of contract remains a question. Patrick Wiercoch is gone, and the team almost certainly won’t see Will Butcher sign. Things look awfully dicey beyond Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie.
The Avalanche added Colin Wilson, Nail Yakupov, and Jonathan Bernier, but is that much for net gains when they also lost the likes of Mikhail Grigorenko and Calvin Pickard?
Really, the best reasons for optimism revolve around “It can’t get much worse.”
As this Quant Hockey graph attests, the Avalanche’s “PDO” - their save percentage and shooting percentage combined - was easily the worst in the league. Now, no doubt about it, bad teams are more likely to suffer from bad luck, yet PDO is one of the surest harbingers of bad bounces you can find. Chances are, if nothing else, Semyon Varlamov and Bernier should at least be somewhat closer to league average.
Matt Duchene is another key player likely to enjoy at least a mild rebound.
After scoring 70 points in 2013-14, 55 in 2014-15, and 59 in 2015-16, he only managed 41 in 2016-17. Duchene failed to score at least 20 goals for the first time in 2012-13, when he generated 17 goals in just 17 games.
(His other season under 20 goals? That was 2011-12, when he collected 14 goals in 58 games.)
In other words, Duchene is highly likely to improve in 2017-18 ... even if he’s either hoping to play somewhere else or auditioning to play somewhere else.
So, the Avalanche seem dour right now, but maybe not as dour as the 2016-17 edition? Yeah, not an easy sell. Enjoy a wide variety of Avs fun facts today.