The Colorado Avalanche have struggled mightily since the All-Star break, mainly because they’re not hitting the back of the net as much as they’d like. Colorado’s conundrum can be solved, there are three options, in my eyes, that the team needs to strongly consider.
If the Avalanche can make 2 out of 3 of these decisions(3 of 3 would be nice though), it can go a long way towards making this a better team, a playoff team.
Something has to be done or the Avs will see the playoffs slip by once more.
Separating Dutchy & MacK
Colorado’s goaltending has been great, and their defense has been solid. This is all about the offense here.
So the first option is to separate Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. Yes they play well together, and some might say Duchene is better on the right side.
However, Duchene is more than capable of playing his natural center position, and at a high level as well. He’s done it his entire career, what makes you think things have changed?
Colorado is a team famous for being offensively gifted, but as of right now it is a challenge to score more than two goals a game.
Separating Duchene and MacKinnon would spread out the offense much more evenly and creates the one-two punch down the middle everyone was so excited for, including Joe Sakic.
Here are the lines I propose:
- Landeskog – Duchene – Comeau
- Soderberg – MacKinnon – Grigorenko
- Tanguay – Mitchell – Iginla
- McLeod – Wagner – Skille/Martinsen
Those lines would create much more difficulty for opponents to match up against the Avalanche as the offense is evened out.
Mikko Rantanen is absolutely on fire down in the AHL, playing for the San Antonio Rampage. As a 19-year-old rookie, playing his first year in North America, “Hot Wheels” is tearing it up.
His numbers for a KID are just outstanding, Rantanen has racked up 17 goals, 24 assists for 41 points in 31 games! He is also a + 27! The big Finn is 7th OVERALL in AHL scoring while having played much fewer games than most everyone else(IIHF tournament where he won gold), and is first overall in rookie scoring. Need I say anything else?
Call the kid up, if he can help the Avs make the post-season, is it really such a big issue to use a year on his entry-level contract in order to do so?
Throwing Rantanen into the top 9 forwards would have the Avalanche looking a lot more competitive.
The third option would be of course to make a trade. As the trade deadline draws closer every minute, Colorado has to be thinking of ways to improve.
Though, if the team is asked to pay through the nose for, say Jonathan Drouin, it should not be considered. I’m all for an even hockey trade, but the Avalanche cannot afford to lose out. So that means no rentals.
If they acquire someone before the deadline, it will be with the future of the organization in mind, and that’s how it should be for certain.
Time isn’t going to slow down for Colorado, they need to fix what is broken, and that’s the offense.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble