NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Colorado Avalanche.
[Avalanche 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]
1. Makar shot attempts
Defenseman Cale Makar made an immediate impact as a rookie with six points (one goal, five assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games after turning pro last season and led the Avalanche with a plus-30 shot attempts differential (SAT) over that span. For comparison, defenseman Tyson Barrie, traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, was tied for seventh on the Avalanche with forward Tyson Jost (plus-8). Makar will likely assume a spot on the first power-play unit and could draw favorable matchups at even strength if his lineup placement on the third pair with Samuel Girard carries into this season. Girard's plus-20 SAT was tied with left wing Gabriel Landeskog for third on Colorado in the postseason.
Video: 31 in 31: Colorado Avalanche 2019-20 season preview
2. Kadri goals
Nazem Kadri is an upgrade at center for the Avalanche, who lacked secondary scoring last season. Kadri scored 16 goals in 2018-19 but 32 in each of the previous two seasons with at least 210 shots on goal while averaging 58 points, 18 on the power play. Despite playing out of the top six unlike in seasons past, Kadri was third on the Maple Leafs behind Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares with a shot attempts percent of 53.18 (minimum 73 games), meaning his team generated more shot attempts when he was on the ice than against. Kadri should benefit from additional even-strength ice time and could thrive on a first power-play unit with Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar.
3. Grubauer games played
Philipp Grubauer won the starting goalie job from Semyon Varlamov down the stretch last season and performed well in the playoffs, going 7-5 with a 2.30 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and one shutout. Because Varlamov signed with the New York Islanders on July 1, Grubauer will be the clear-cut No. 1 goalie for the first time in his NHL career. He played an NHL career-high 37 games (33 starts) last season but had his lowest save percentage (.917), excluding two games he played in 2012-13. It's worth noting that Grubauer played in a similar situation with the Washington Capitals, when Braden Holtby was No. 1 at the position. He thrived in a backup role, going 43-31-11 with a 2.29 GAA and .923 save percentage from 2012-18.
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