Record: 26-15-6, 58 pts Conference Rank: 3rd Division Rank: 1st Top Scorer: Paul Stastny (10 goals, 33 assists, 43 points) Top Goalie: Craig Anderson (22 wins, 2.67GAA) Midseason Grade: A+
For a team that was supposed to be in the middle of a rebuilding period, the Colorado Avalanche are sure making quick work of it. After finishing low enough in the standings to draft highly touted Matt Duchene, the Avs have seemingly found whatever they were missing last year. Namely, Craig Anderson. The career backup has been phenomenal in his first full time gig as a starting goalie, and is the biggest reason the Avalanche are at the top of the West and not the bottom, where they were projected to be.
Oh yeah, and that kid Duchene, he’s pretty good too. With 13 goals and 29 points already, he’s right in the thick of the discussion surrounding this year’s rookie of the year award. Another big factor has been the great play of center Paul Stastny, who has picked up the slack left by the retired Joe Sakic.
For most of the first half of this season, everyone was just waiting to see when the upstart Avs would stumble and drop to the league cellar. Now, everyone’s just waiting to see how far they’ll make it into the playoffs. Exciting times in Denver.