It’s October 3rd, the lights in the Pepsi Center go dim. Your hands are full, $12 dollar beer, $8 dollar nachos. You scooch you’re way down the aisle where you’re $37 nose bleed seat is waiting for you. It’s opening night.
Here’s what the starting line up for the Colorado Avalanche may sound like when Alan Roach comes over the speakers to get you standing out of your cheap seat.
Reminder these lines are all just my opinion.
Tyson Jost needs to be with skill players, his game suits it, and I think in order to break out he needs to be with the big dogs. Sakic has said already he plans on having Jost with Kadri on the second line, but I don’t feel they fit well on a second line together. Kadri plays hard-nosed in your face hockey. Jost is more finesse, which is why I think big-bodied MacKinnon and Rantanen can do the heavy lifting in the corners and Jost can benefit from that. For the record, I do feel Jost should be at center, but with the addition of Kadri, I don’t feel like sufficient ice time is there on the third line.
As for Mackinnon and Rantanen, it’s status quo, kicking a** and taking names, night in and night out. Matt Calvert could play the first line with them and score 20 goals.
This would be my favorite line for a couple of reasons. Imagine facing a line with both Landeskog AND Kadri hounding on you, breaking you down all game. With newcomer Burakovsky on the right side, he’s a great compliment on a line that offers everything. Size, grit, defense, the offense you name it.
Landeskog belonged on the top line last year because the Avalanche had no choice. Due to a lack of secondary scoring head coach Jared Bednar’s hands were tied. What better way to test the new depth guys up front than to split the three-headed monster up. If the Avalanche think they’ve gotten deeper up front, they should have no problem in doing so.
The recently re-signed Colin Wilson is the Swiss Army knife player for the young Avs. He brings a veteran presence that can be thrown out in every situation, first to the fourth line, power play to the penalty kill. He does everything fairly well. Wilson fills holes, and the third line is perfect for that. A perfect third line should fill holes in a game. When a team is on its heels and the team needs a pick me up, good teams have third and fourth lines that lift the team. Not necessarily with skill and offense, but with energy and honest, hard hockey. It’s also nice that he and Compher can be switched from wing and center as they wish.
With Compher down the middle, I think this year he takes a step in being more consistent. I think he can, but I feel his ceiling is pretty close to max. Which is totally cool, as long as he accepts the role of a third line/special teams guy that logs 15 to 16 minutes a night.
Joonas Donskoi’s contract was neither a steal or a rip off in my opinion. I think he’ll be a third-line or second-line guy if injuries arise. I don’t think he’ll amass 50 points. But hey, if he can churn out 30 to 40 point years in his time in Colorado, I can buy that. He’ll fit in just fine with this line.
It’s hard for me to leave Vladislav Kamenev off the fourth line center job. But with the signing of Pierre Edouard Bellemare, It seems the Avs brass have pushed Kamenev out of a job. At least for this year. If he had stayed healthy his first two years, he’d be a shoo-in for the fourth line and no weird Bellemare contract.
As for Matt Nieto and Matt Calvert, they’ve earned their spots. Calvert has shown he would bleed for this team. After the last playoffs, he has a fan in me. Nieto’s game is flawed 100 percent. But he is a threat on the penalty kill. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays without his often linemate, Carl Soderberg.
There are a few different ways to spin these lines. But I feel in order to see if Jost fits in on this team is to throw him in with the big dogs and see if he can hang. If he shows he’s a third-line player this year, look for him to be traded, as he is not a player that does the dirty work a third line commands.
With this format, the Avalanche have a first and second line that can hang with anyone. A coach’s dream you might say. Switch Jost out with Landeskog, Compher or Wilson and Bednar and company still sit pretty. What a problem to have.
There you have it. Now imagine that line up being belted over the Pepsi Centre speakers in Alan Roach’s godly voice. It’s almost hockey time folks, it’s okay to start looking for cheap seats.
Let me know what you think of my lines and where you would put the players. Or if you feel I left someone off the roster who should be there come opening night.
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