The Colorado Avalanche are, for lack of a better term, in desperation mode. After dealing with a myriad of injuries to their forwards in January (Tomas Fleischmann, David Jones, Ryan O’Reilly), Colorado has made the bold move of resigning the 37 year old Avalanche legend Peter Forsberg. Peter the Great has never been quite the same since undergoing multiple foot and ankle surgeries since 2005, and coupled with a nagging groin injury, Forsberg decided to skip the last two NHL seasons and contemplate retirement several times. With nothing more to lose except more forwards, the Avalanche are taking a chance on #21 again. He’s joining a Colorado squad that is currently 12th in the Western Conference standings and on a four game losing streak.
Colorado has looked awful defensively in this losing stretch, giving up an average of four goals a game and the teams’ penalty killing is abysmal, ranking 27th in the NHL. The goal tending hasn’t been spectacular in the least with four power play goals allowed in the last six games. Craig Andersen has been the net minder in four of these last six games, relieving Peter Budaj in the Phoenix Coyotes game on January 26th. He’s been the losing goalie in his last five appearances, allowing 18 goals in those losses, 16 of them when his team was at even strength, and earned a .866 save percentage. In the loss to the Boston Bruins on January 22nd he didn’t even finish the game when he was pulled at the beginning of the third period after allowing four goals in the first two periods. Backup goalie Peter Budaj hasn’t been much better. In the Av’s last six games Budaj made four appearances, three of those as the starting goalie. He’s given up eight goals on 72 shots, including an abominable two goals in fourteen minutes against the Phoenix Coyotes in the first period to earn him a seat on the bench.
With a lack of consistently good goal tending, poor defense and at times a complete lack of scoring (0 goals in their last two games), the Avalanche are slowly fading into obscurity as they slip down the Northwest standings. Here is a quick look at the best and worst Avalanche fantasy players over the last six games:
Milan Hejduk, Right Wing – 2 goals, 2 assists, -3 overall, 2 penalty minutes. He was the leading scorer for the Avs against the Minnesota Wild back on February 3rd and will get a shot at them again tonight.
Paul Statsny, Center – 1 goal, 2 assists, -3 overall, 6 penalty minutes. Had a three game point streak going into February, but hasn’t had a point since. He’s also found himself in penalty trouble.
Chris Stewart, Right Wing – 1 goal, 2 assists, -4 overall, 2 penalty minutes. Had a productive game against the Wild with a goal and an assist, but seems to be on the ice for at least one opponents’ goal every game.
Brandon Yip, Right Wing – 2 goals, 1 goal on a power play, 1 assist, even +/-, 9 penalty minutes. Yip only played in five of the last six games, but against St. Louis he scored two huge goals. He needs to stay out of the penalty box.
Kyle Cumiskey, Defenseman – 3 assists, -1 overall, 2 penalty minutes. He’s been one of the few defensemen stepping up to help the offense, posting three points in five games played. He suffered a defensive lapse against the Anaheim Ducks last Monday when he was in the game for two of the Ducks’ goals.
Kevin Shattenkirk, Defenseman – 2 goals, 1 goal on a power play, 2 assists, -2 overall, 4 penalty minutes. The rookie defenseman continues to impress, scoring at least one point in five of his last 10 games and having a five game scoring streak to end January. He’s also one of the few defensemen not to post anything worse than a -1 during the losing streak.
Craig Andersen, Goalie – 13 goals allowed, .877 save percentage, 0-4 record. Anderson just can’t seem to match his 2009-’10 performance and hasn’t won a game since January 18th.
Matt Duchene, Center – 1 goal, -4 overall. The best player on the Avalanche has oddly gone cold, going three straight games without a point and didn’t even register a shot in his last game.
TJ Galiardi, Left Wing – 2 assists, -6 overall. TJ seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, hardly producing any points to match the opponents.
Kevin Porter, Center – 1 assist, -4 overall. He played in only four of the last six games, and posted an awful -4 against Boston which got him benched for the next two games.
John Michael-Liles, Defenseman – 1 assist, -7 overall, 2 penalty minutes. Typically one of the Avs’ best scoring defensemen, he’s on a four game scoreless streak and isn’t getting the job done on defense either. He also posted a -4 in the Bruins game.
Ryan O’Byrne, Defenseman – 0 points, -5 overall, 12 penalty minutes. O’Byrne is hurting the team with penalties, two of them resulting in power play goals over the last six games. He needs to get back in the + column by tightening up the defense and helping apply some offensive pressure.