MONTREAL -- The Colorado Avalanche are a study in contradictions.
The Avalanche won the Central Division, arguably the toughest in the NHL last season, while finishing in the bottom half of the League in shots on goal per game (20th) and shots on goal against per game (25th). In fact, no team that qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs allowed more than the 32.7 shots on goal per game the Avalanche did, and three of the 16 playoff teams took fewer shots on goal per game.
Colorado has become a popular choice of the hockey analytics community for a regression this season because of the poor shot metrics, yet the Avalanche are built around a number of prime, young talents who are progressing in their NHL career.
The word "regression" is not the first one that jumps to mind when you think of Nathan MacKinnon (19 years old), Gabriel Landeskog (21), Matt Duchene (23), Ryan O'Reilly (23), Tyson Barrie (23), Erik Johnson (26) or Semyon Varlamov (26).