The Colorado Avalanche finished the season one spot out of the playoffs and once again will be picking 10th overall in the upcoming draft. A result like this doesn’t sit well with coach Roy or the head office of the Avs but who do you point the finger at?
At the end of the day you have to look at your leaders, the players who wear a letter on their chest. From Captain Gabriel Landeskog to the Assistants Iginla and Mcleod, the leaders for the Avalache have to be better. i’m not talking about Landeskog’s lowest point total(53) since he first came into the league as a rookie or how Iginla has become a one trick pony by lining up on the left faceoff circle on the powerplay to generate the majority of his goals. It’s the penalties that these three took throughout the year. How are they supposed to hold the rest of the team accountable when they’re constantly putting their team down a man. Cody McLeod is a fan favourite and has always been a grinder, with a career high for points coming in 2008/09 when he put up a whopping 20 points. He also had more penalty minutes this season than any other captain in the league, his 138 PIM’s were the 5th most in the NHL this year. Landeskog also finished the year with 69 PIM’s, including an elbowing call that ended with him being suspended and Iggy rounds out the list with 41 PIM’s with most being lazy hooking or tripping calls. Now that’s 248 minutes spent in the box by the 3 captains which is second only to the Arizona Coyotes.
Now I’m not saying strip Landeskog of his C but it may be time to look at different players to have the A.
Matt Duchene recently wore an A for team Canada at the world cup which ended up winning gold and also is a true leader for the Avalanche. Leads by example as their leading scorer but is also the first one on the ice and last one off of it. The guy does a great amount in the community and if you want your heart strings tugged at just watch the feature that was done on him and the little girl that aired earlier this year. This one is a no brainer to myself and many other Avalanche fans and should happen sooner rather than later.
Erik Johnson has been their most dependable defender while healthy, contributing on the offensive side also. Signed up for the long term, the former first overall pick could give some leadership on the back end for years to come. He’s also been in the league for a while which I think having someone with that kind of experience would be nice.
Mackinnon is another option for a player to wear an A, especially when you look at his production on the ice. Only thing is he is still young, going into his fourth year and it would be nice to have a leader on defense who is also a little older.
Something has to change for the Avs to take the next step and this would be a step in the right direction. Sometimes the biggest changes come from within and this would be a start. Some may say that a letter on a jersey shouldn’t change that much but we give them for a reason and they should be given to players that deserve them. Sorry Cody and Iggy but it’s time for someone else to take the reigns.