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Evaluation of the Avalanche call-ups this season

Evaluation of the Avalanche call-ups this season

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If you watched an Avalanche game this season and thought you accidentally tuned in to a Colorado Eagles game, forgive me.

The Avalanche fielded 14 skaters this year who are either regular Eagles players or have spent significant time with the farm team.

And there’s still half a season to play.

I wanted to evaluate all of those views, but when I got stared at, I really realized how many there were, so we need to split this into two parts.

So far the results have been pretty mixed. Some players did better than others, but the only constant was a lack of performance, which put a lot of pressure on the few healthy veterans to carry the load.

Let’s dive in.

Martin Kaut

Games: 24

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 50.43%

Stats: One goal, two assists

Let’s start with the man, who is probably the most recognizable name on the list.

This was Kaut’s longest stint in the NHL to prove he has what it takes to be a consistent everyday player, and he’s been… pretty up and down. He has good nights, he has bad nights, and to be honest, most nights you just don’t notice him.

The only thing he did pretty well is generate shots. He’s averaging 2.12 shot attempts per game with consistent strength, a pretty impressive number considering he only averages 8:26 ice time per game.

He’s mentioned on numerous occasions that he’s tried to model his game after Logan O’Connor, but LOC is built a little differently. He’s a much better skater than Kaut, which benefits him in pre-check. The Avalanche gave Kaut a few penalties but has recently backed out from using him there, so one wonders what his future role might be.

To me, Kaut is a really smart player and a smart defence, but he doesn’t excel in any area. This makes things a little more difficult when trying to find a role. A role he didn’t quite find in Colorado.

With only three points in 24 games, including two in the same game, one wonders how many more chances he will have. Having gone through waivers twice already this season, there don’t seem to be any teams in the league who believe his struggles in Colorado are solely due to him being a miscast.

He was better than a series of drafts, but you always seem to want more.

Anton Blid

Games: Nine

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 49.09%

Statistics: zero points

Signed off as an unrestricted free agent over the summer Boston, Blid came as advertised. Heavy, tough in the corners and not very scoring.

For better or for worse, that’s what they got.

With nine games without points, he didn’t count on goals despite chances. He’s something of the poster child for what’s plagued the Avalanche this year with the forwards they’ve had to muster. Nobody can score.

As a pending unrestricted free agent, I don’t see a future for him in the Avalanche, but he’s a nice addition to the Eagles in the AHL.

Alex Galchenyuk

Games: four

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 27.4%

Statistics: zero points

If the Avalanche hadn’t been hit with so many injuries, I don’t think Galchenyuk would have gotten the time to do it. But they were hit hard, and they were hit hardest when Galchenyuk got hot with the eagles.

He got an NHL contract and an immediate draft, but it didn’t last long. The results were bad. The book about him has long been that he’s not good defensively, but offense made up for it earlier. As offense began to dry up for him in the NHL, he ran out of opportunities.

All of these themes were seen in his short time.

In its four games, the Avalanche controlled just 27.4% of shot attempts with Galchenyuk on the ice. Galchenyuk himself registered only two shots on goal, but the fighting in the defensive zone was too great for the coaching staff to ignore. He was sent down after the fourth game and I’d be surprised if we see him again this year.

Brad Hunt

Games: 14

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 56.18%

Stats: One goal, one assist

As a 241 NHL game veteran before signing with Colorado, the Avalanche knew what they were getting. And for the most part, he’s been just that.

He shoots pretty much every time the puck gets near him and was more reliable in the defensive zone than Jacob MacDonald, a big reason he dresses above him on defense. As you can see from the shot share numbers above, the puck spends more time in the attacking zone for the Avalanche with Hunt on the ice.

The cracks started with some early penalties and turnovers to a show just after the Christmas break, but scored one of the bigger goals of the season against the Oilers to level the game.

All in all, Hunt was one of the strongest players to get promoted from the Eagles this season.

Callahan Burke

Games: 2

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 36.36%

Statistics: zero points

The Avalanche ran out of options when they had to turn to Burke. The 25-year-old center played his first two NHL games before being sent back to the Eagles.

In his first game he actually had some energy and had a couple of chances. The second game saw a bit more of what you’d expect from him as some moves died on his stick. I can’t imagine the Avalanche had any plans to use him before the season, but things obviously got a little wild with injuries. Quite a valuable player in the AHL for the Eagles.

Sampo Ranta

Games: 5

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 52.86%

Statistics: zero points

After pulling the team out of training camp and playing 10 games last season, Ranta was sent down and spent the rest of the year with the Eagles.

He wasn’t particularly close to getting the team out of camp that year, but did manage to get a few call-ups. I wasn’t impressed in his stint last year and was quite surprised when he made the team. He’s a physical specimen, but seems a little lost on the ice, especially in the defensive zone.

I liked him a bit more this season. He still has his problems in the defending zone, but he was really hard on the puck and hit everything that moved. He also positioned himself for chances with 10 shot attempts in just five games on confined ice.

His role with the Eagles seems to hint at what the Avalanche are trying to do with him, and that’s shaping him into one of the bottom six forwards. I’m not sure it will work as I have questions about his ability to process the game at high speeds but I think he’s improved since his stint last year. This is a positive step.

Karl Hudon

Games: Nine

On Ice 5v5 Corsi For %: 56.77%

Statistics: zero points

It came as no surprise that Hudon was brought up by the Eagles to help. It was a surprise that it took so long.

Of all the forwards the Avalanche produced that season, only Burke was called up as a Hudon later in the year. That was a little surprising given that he had extensive previous NHL experience and is a top scorer in the AHL.

In his first game with the Avalanche, he came out flying with a team leading seven shots at the net. He would still get chances in the eight other games he’s played, but like every other guy who got the call, he couldn’t contribute to the scorers’ list. The defensive warts also started to show a bit.

A goalscorer who can’t finish is a bit tricky but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen of Hudon and would put him back in in a pinch. At 28, a long-term future is unlikely, but AAAA players always seem to get chances and flash for a few games. That has a certain value.

Seven down, seven more. Look for part two, which will be out later this week.

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