Currently with a below .500 record it would be hard to fathom the idea that the veteran players brought in by the Colorado Avalanche over the last 18 months or so are out producing the players they replaced. After losing in the first round of the playoffs last season, after a magical regular season, the Avalanche organization went to work adding veteran players to the established young core the team possessed. The organization managed this by trade, free agency and even by getting the players they already had healthy again.
Daniel Briere for P.A. Parenteau
The Avalanche got things started on June 6 by completing a trade with the Montreal Canadians that brought in Daniel Briere in exchange for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and a draft pick. Parenteau spent most of the 2013-2014 season in the stands with two separate injuries and then when he did make the lineup he was often in the so called dog house of head coach Patrick Roy. In the seven playoff games Parenteau had only one goal, which was scored late and forced overtime in a game that the Avalanche ultimately won, but he failed to produce other then that.
Briere’s season with the Avalanche has had its ups and downs. Briere first scored in the last second of the third period against the Bruins to give the Avalanche there first win of the season. Briere currently has 7 goals on the season 3 of which have been game winners. This is after being a healthy scratch for seven games early in the season. Parenteau has six goals on the season and has played six fewer games then Briere. Parenteau has excelled in shootouts this season but with the loaded offensive talent the Avalanche have Briere is not going to get many shootout attempts if any at all. What makes Briere so good is his ability to go to the net and, as a little guy, get him self open. The goal he scored in Boston is a great depiction of how Briere has scored all season.
Jarome Iginla Compared to Paul Stastny
It was not a huge surprise when center Paul Stastny left Colorado via free agency for a fresh start with the St. Louis Blues in the off season. The Avalanche organization put themselves in a bit of a tough spot when a new contract was not negotiated during the regular season and Stastny said on numerous occasions he would offer a home town discount to stay in Denver. However the seven million dollars a year the Blues were willing to offer was more than the Avalanche were willing to pay and Stastny moved on. The deal was announced early on the first day of free agency and left a noticeable hole in the Avalanche offense that needed to be filled.
Later on that same day the Avalanche made a large, and in someways unexpected, announcement. They had signed veteran forward Jarome Iginla to a three year deal worth $16 million. Iginla started slow, maybe due to age, maybe due to a new team or a new system. Really though that is just how Iginla has always played. Even to his prime years back in Calgary he was known for starting the season slow but when he did heat up, look out. Now 39 games into the season Iginla has 10 goals, 15 assists for 25 points. Stastny in St. Louis has maybe not gone as planned, in a game against the Avalanche, Stastny had zero points and just over 12 minutes of ice time in a game that came down to the wire. On the season Stastny only has 7 goals and 12 assists.
While it was not a trade that swapped these two players, they were acquired the same way. The season is not yet half over but as it sits right now this is a win for Colorado. It is clear despite his age Iginla has not lost his form, just ask Flyers goalie Steve Mason who faced this shot on New Years Eve.
Iginla put up 30 goals last season for the Boston Bruins and as of right now is just barely behind that pace but is currently red hot. When Iginla came to Colorado in the off season he was very open about the people and players inside the organization that reached out to him to sign here. Obviously Roy and his good buddy Joe Sakic were in charge of getting the deal done. Also Captain Gabriel Landeskog did what he was suppose to do and reached out to Iginla. The phone call that probably closed the deal came from a former Calgary teammate who got a hold of Iginla to remind him he was in Colorado and was healthy for the season.
Alex Tanguay Gets Healthy
Tanguay was returned to Colorado right after Roy was named head coach. The now veteran was just a young kid when he played with Roy and Sakic his first few seasons in the league. The trade also included Cory Sarich coming to Colorado while David Jones and Defense man Shane O’Brien headed to Calgary. Sarich spent much of last season battling back issues and after nearly being killed in a bicycle accident he remains unsigned by an NHL team. O’Brien did not last the entire season with the big club before being sent down so for all intents and purposes those pieces of the trade are a wash.
In two seasons with Calgary, Jones has played in 75 games and collected 27 points. Tanguay this season alone sits at 25 points which ties him for first on the team with former and now current teammate Iginla. Tanguay’s season was cut short last year after a hip injury that he attempted to return from but later required surgery, ending his season. He only played in 16 games but still managed an impressive 11 points in that time.
Tanguay becoming healthy this season has really been like a free agent signing that brought in a new player. If the veteran can continue his pace and bring in somewhere over 50 points when the season is done that would be a huge boost for the Avalanche who need to get the young core of this team firing like the recently added veterans are. One place Tanguay has also excelled but does not really show on the score sheet is in the shootout. The move he pulls in the video below he has used several times both on breakaways and in the shootouts.
Obviously no one would ask this older group to cut back on the offense. It would just be nice if they were a compliment to the young core instead of driving the offensive truck. Again the Avalanche are currently a team below .500 and are last place in the Central division. While a playoff spot is not mathematically gone, yet, with every lose it becomes more and more difficult. These three additions have already provided in a way that probably most people did not think that they would and it is a welcome scenario. The only reason the Avalanche do not find themselves at the bottom of the league is the play of these additions as it appears that all three have been victories for the Avalanche.
I am a University of New Mexico journalism student who has been watching NHL hockey since 1996 and I started playing hockey myself in 2003. I have covered both college soccer and volleyball in the past and I also contribute to a NASCAR news website.