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Mid-season Report Card (forwards)

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Old
01-09-2009, 02:01 PM
  #1
ABasin
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Mid-season Report Card (forwards)

I've done this on another board for years, and it always seems to produce some good debate, so I'll try it here. If you're not into long posts, bail now. :-)


Hejduk: B+
82 game pace: 26g, 60 pts.
He’s been generally pretty consistently good, but does disappear and float at times – the team has gone 11-, 5-, and 5- game stretches this year, when they couldn’t score more than 3 goals. That’s on the first line players, to a large extent. Still, given his centers have changed 4 times, and the best ones have been sitting for a lot of the season, his output is pretty good.

Smyth: B
82 game pace: 26g, 60 pts.
Not bad numbers………….for a $4M/year player. His effort is there every night, he’s back in front of the net more, but his production is not matching his contract. Same issues with lack of scoring and hurt centers apply here. Excellent work ethic.

Stastny: B-
82 game pace: 24g, 74pts.
Again, not bad offensive numbers, but I would have thought Stastny to be more than a point-per-game guy. And those multi-game stretches of offensive drought are tough to take.

Wolski: C
82 game pace: 20g, 46pts.
Many may disagree with this one, but Wolski has been floating around the rink for large amounts of time this year. And, up to a few days ago, was on a 15g pace. He's simply too good for that. Perhaps moving him to center is the answer we've been waiting for, but up until now, it's been a mixed bag, IMO.

Sakic: C-/Inc.
Before his injury (injuries), Sakic wasn't skating very well, wasn't scoring many goals, and was playing what was easily the worst defense I've ever seen him play. He was awful in the defensive zone. Still, he did manage 12 points in 15 games, so he was somewhat effective in the offensive zone. But, all in all, he just didn't play very well.

Svatos: D
82 game pace: 14g, 36pts.
Yes, he's playing alongside less-skilled players, but for a guy who has scored at 43- and 34-goal paces twice in the past three years, 6 goals at the midseason mark is wholly unacceptable. Laperriere and McLeod are playing regularly with less-skilled guys than Svatos, and they've got about the same number of goals. I'm sure hoping this is torn ACL rust we're seeing here, because his output is really low. :-(

Arnason: F
82 game pace: 4g, 20pts.
The guy simply isn't an NHL-caliber player at this point. Even playing alongside the best wings on the team, he's got TWO goals. Players this lazy shouldn't be on the team.

Jones: C
82 game pace: 13g, 22pts.
His first 20 games were pretty bad, his second 20 games pretty good. I suppose 13 goals isn't a bad total for his first full season. Not bad. I do like his work ethic.

Tucker: D
82 game pace: 13g, 24 pts.
He's been pretty bad. Again, 13g for a third line player isn't awful, but I've got to believe that $2.5M (or whatever) could have been better spent elsewhere. Every other shift, he looks really lazy.

Hensick: C-
He's just not getting it done. I like his speed, and his stickhandling. But, not too many points. Right now, he is getting a realistic chance, but still no production. Disappointing...

Laperriere/McLeod: A
What's not to like here? A 4th line guy scoring at a 10g pace and all-out effort each night, and another 4th line guy scoring at a 14g pace and solid efforts most nights. Put a decent checking center between them, and we're all set. "Will the real Ben Guite please stand up?".

Guite/Dupuis/Willsie: Inc.
In limited playing time, none have distinguished themselves in any real positive way so far. Enh.

Stewart: B
This guy looked like a lost babe in the woods his first few games. But, since then, he's shown that he has NHL talent. The trick here is: is it 1st/2nd line talent, or 3rd line tough/checking talent? I'm leaning towards the latter, but in any case, he's been good around the opposition's net, plays tough, and works hard. I remember reading some articles over the past couple of years, that his effort in camp wasn't up to par, or that he didn't work hard enough. I don't see evidence of that in his play.

McCormick: D
This guy in an AHL player, end of story. He's just not very good. Tough, works hard, but basically stinks.


Overall: C-
The team is in the bottom 20% in the NHL in goals, and even before the injuries, they weren't lighting the place on fire. It'll be interesting to see what they can do with a Stastny-Wolski combo at 1-2 center.

-AB

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Old
01-09-2009, 03:13 PM
  #2
WarriorOfGandhi
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Just a few thoughts (I agree with most of your post)

-Disagree on Wolski. From what I've been seeing, he's been putting in solid effort nearly every game. His passing game has vastly improved, but all he's got to give to is Arnason or Tucker. Can't fault him when his linemates couldn't hit water on a boat. He looks more willing to take physical play and drive to the net, wheras in the last few seasons he's been content with a perimeter game. I wouldn't give him an A, but it's not fair to say he's been playing below expectations (not putting words in your mouth, just sayin').

-Jones hustles every shift and every night, which is really all I ask. He's too young to be a consistant scoring threat but has shown flashes of a 20-30 goal scorer, which will come with time. Although it would be nice to see him bury the puck more, I can't see his game improving by effort alone. Once he gets a year or two's experience, it'll start showing.

-Svatos isn't producing, but he's a volume shooter that has to have the puck and it's as simple as that. Without playmakers feeding him like Turgeon or Brunette or Hlinka, he's just a dime-a-dozen player, for better or worse. That having been said, he hasn't complained or floated, and I don't think it's in the Avs best interest to leave his talents to gather dust or jettison him for a pick.

-Hensick's not ready. That's all there is to it.

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01-09-2009, 03:34 PM
  #3
ColoradoHockeyFan
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Good overall assessment, ABasin. I agree almost across the board, with only minor differences here and there. I would probably have given Smyth a slightly higher letter grade, not because I disagree with anything in your explanation, but just because his effort has been so good and so consistent, night-in and night-out. I'd probably place a bit more emphasis on that in the grade I'd assign, in spite of pure production numbers being a little lower than we might have hoped (and in fairness, injuries to teammates have an impact on overall production too.)

Minor differences, though. I'm largely in agreement with your whole post.

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Old
01-09-2009, 03:44 PM
  #4
ABasin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorOfGandhi View Post

-Disagree on Wolski.
I suspect that'll be an area where there's some disagreement. When you look at how he's been playing the past three games, and how we played for large parts of the first few months....

I realize there's a position change there, but still...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorOfGandhi View Post
-Jones hustles every shift and every night, which is really all I ask.
If I wanted him to be nothing more than a 4th liner, that's all I'd ask, too. But, my expectations are 2nd/3rd line for him. And there, he needs to score.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorOfGandhi View Post
-Svatos isn't producing, but he's a volume shooter that has to have the puck and it's as simple as that. Without playmakers feeding him like Turgeon or Brunette or Hlinka, he's just a dime-a-dozen player, for better or worse. That having been said, he hasn't complained or floated, and I don't think it's in the Avs best interest to leave his talents to gather dust or jettison him for a pick.
No, but they've got to realize that he's going to be largely useless, if not put on a line with other skilled forwards. Granato is making the same damn mistake with him that Q made at times. When Stastny gets back, Svatos should be on his, or Wolski's, wing.

-AB

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01-09-2009, 03:51 PM
  #5
Ensane
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I'd switch Hejduk and Smyth's grades, or possibly make them equivalent. I'm not holding Smyth's higher salary against him. Regardless, I think on a nightly basis he's had more of an impact and creates more scoring opportunities than Hejduk.

I'd bump Wolski up to a B-, right there with Stastny. I think he's shown a consistent effort every night, has made strides to improve his all around game, and has played with confident--finally looking like the veteran that he's becoming. At years end if he doesn't manage 20 goals, I'll judge him a bit more severely, but I think he and Stastny are in a similar boat in terms of under performing, but not horrendously.

Of course you've got to strike a balance between what is expected of a player and how they are performing in general. For instance, I expected a bit more out of Tucker, a former 20 goal scorer who signed a 2.5m/2yr deal. He's basically taken a load of a bad penalties, hasn't established himself as a stop gap on the 2nd line, which we thought he would be--if injuries forced him there, and he seems to get hurt once a game. So a low grade for him is justified, but in the case of McCormick, did you really expect that much out of him? He hasn't looked out of place, doesn't take all that many dumb penalties, doesn't cost a lot, and brings enough toughness to the table that the Avs don't need to waste a roster spot on a pure goon. He's basically all you ask for in a 4th liner. His skating has improved a ton since he first came into Avs camp years ago. If you keep him on that third line, playing 8-10 minutes a night, then I think he's fine. So I feel a "D" is is pretty harsh since you've got to admit that you didn't expect much from him, and he hasn't underperformed according to his abilities--unlike a few others. I will add that if injuries had not forced the line nightly line juggling and he stayed on a line with Lappy and McLeod, I think he'd have more points since they seemed to gel together.

I'd probably lower Stewart to a B-. I think we're all so excited that he hasn't looked out of place, but have ignored the point that he's basically playing like a 3rd line grinder/agitator at this point. I think he may still be getting over the fact that he made the big squad, and is acting a bit anxious out there at times. He still has a ways to go before he gets fully adjusted to being a day-to-day NHLer, and I think this year will be a growing experience for him above all else. Next year is when I think he'll show flashes of getting past that 3rd line grinder mold--he's not there yet however.

With all the injuries, a lot of guys have been thrust into different roles on a nightly basis, and I think that makes gauging a tough chore at this point, so there's plenty of room for argument on most players. I think we can all agree that we don't have anyone who remotely deserves an "A" grade on the forwards. Hejduk making the All Star lineup is a bit of a joke too, not that anyone else deserved it.

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01-09-2009, 04:43 PM
  #6
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Stastny: B
He went through some tough offensive droughts this season, and right after he signed the contract was pretty non-existent, however right before he got injured the last 5 games or so he was getting hot. He is still the best defensive forward on this team IMO.

Smyth: B-
One of the few players who gives 100% night in and night out. Would like to see more offensive production, but with the rotating centers and lack of offense as a team, it's tough for him to do so.

Hejduk: B-
One of the few consistent scoring threats we have had this season. He's gone a few games at a time where you barely even see him, but for the most part he's done pretty well with the centers he's had since Stastny and Joe went down. Also one of the better defensive forwards on this team.

Wolski: B-
His offense is not where it should be for a player of his skill level, who knows maybe that will change with the change in position. However he has grown so much in the defensive area of the game. He is now one of our best PKer's IMO, and is a solid 2 way player. I also think his work level is alot better this year than last. Also he's bailed us out in the shootout so many times he deserves credit for that.

Svatos: D
He's not scoring the goals like we know he can. Yes he's had poor linemates and minimal ice time all year, but he is still getting PP time and we need more goals from him. Maybe he's still trying to get his knee 100%. He is a plus player though, on a team where plus players are few and far between.

Hensick: D
Looked pretty good for the first few games he got called up, but has been lost ever since. Not producing enough points, even when he was given the opportunity to play with better linemates. Needs to go back to Lake Erie, but because of injuries he can't.

Jones: C-
Started the season off really rough, but has since turned his game around a little. He works hard and is fun to watch power his way down the wing, but in the end, his hands have yet to catch up to him. Needs to figure out how to put the biscuit in the basket more often.

Sakic: C
What can I say about our Joe? Still put up a pretty good PPG ratio, but if you watched him you could see it wasn't the same Joe. His defense was pretty bad to start the year, and he wasn't skating the same. He also had some pretty bad linemates at the beginning though, like Tucker and Jones.

Arnason: F+
Tyler, Chuck, Ice Turd, call him what you will, he hasn't played well at all this season. I personally don't think he intentionally dogs it out there, I just think he doesn't have it anymore. His defense has been surprisingly decent, which his why he gets a + in front of the F, but 2 goals all year, one of which I remember vividly being an empty net because Wolski stole the puck from Turco behind the net, is simply not acceptable. Especially when he was given opportunity after opportunity with good linemates.

Tucker: D-
Terrible. The only word I can describe him. Slow, can't pass, can't handle a pass, only seems to get mad after the play is over. Bruno is sure looking good right about now......

Lappy: A
What more can we ask from him? Brings leadership, defensive ability, and some underrated offensive ability. Has played well this season, and has played really well at center briefly.

McLeod: A-
If I had said he'd be the 5th leading goal scorer who would have believed me. He brings energy, fights, skates well, hits, is responsible in his own end, and scores some goals. Can't ask for much more.

McCormick: C-
Has brief stints where he looks like a legitimate third or fourth liner in this league, but then goes quiet again. He's a decent fourth liner in this league, but there is no need for him and McLeod on the roster, and frankly McLeod does his job much better.

Stewart: B-
First game was a bit rough, but he has been very solid since. Skates much better than I thought, has a decent pair of hands, hits hard, and he hasn't looked out of place. I think he'll round out into a decent second liner, excellent third liner one day.

Guite/Willsie/Dupuis: INC.
I'll keep this short. Dupuis sucks, Willsie was surprisingly pretty solid, better than McCormick as a fourth liner, and Guite was good in the beginning of the year, but was pretty bad since coming back from injury.


Overall:

I expected more goals to come from this team. Injuries haven't helped, but they are still capable of more. I think too much stock was put into the younger guys being able to produce this quickly and it just hasn't happened. Jones was supposed to replace Bruno's offense, that was too much to ask. Hensick isn't ready IMO. Tucker has been a bust. Svatos is coming off knee surgery so he's struggled. I'm excited to see Wolski keep centering the top line for the next month or so until Stastny comes back. We should have a nice 1-2 punch going forward.

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Old
01-09-2009, 04:55 PM
  #7
ABasin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensane View Post
I'd bump Wolski up to a B-, right there with Stastny.
The problem then is, all of the top forwards have 'B' grades, but did the team's offense have a grade that high? As a team, they've been pretty bad offensively. Does it make sense to have all of the top forwards having 'played well' offensively, on a team that hasn't?

-AB

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01-09-2009, 05:00 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
The problem then is, all of the top forwards have 'B' grades, but did the team's offense have a grade that high? As a team, they've been pretty bad offensively. Does it make sense to have all of the top forwards having 'played well' offensively, on a team that hasn't?

-AB
Not really since the other "top forwards" like Sakic, Svatos and Tucker/Jones have been bad/below average.

I think the top four of Stastny, Hejduk, Smyth and Wolski, by in large, have played pretty well this season. Wolski has improved his defensive game and work ethic, Smyth gives 100% every night and is on pace for 26 goals, Hejduk is one of our better defensive forwards and also on pace for 26 goals despite losing his top center, and Stastny is Stastny. He deserves at least a B grade.

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01-09-2009, 05:21 PM
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Ensane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
The problem then is, all of the top forwards have 'B' grades, but did the team's offense have a grade that high? As a team, they've been pretty bad offensively. Does it make sense to have all of the top forwards having 'played well' offensively, on a team that hasn't?

-AB
I dunno about you, but when I was in school, I considered a B- to be low.

To me, the main reason the team's offense has struggled is due to the inability of the secondary scoring to produce. I'd have Sakic, Jones, Tucker, Arnason, Hensick, and Svatos all at the C level or lower. All of them have been in top-6 roles at various points this season. Also, keep in mind that until recently, scoring from our defensemen was amongst the lowest in the league, which will also hurt the team's overall GF/G standing.


Last edited by Ensane: 01-09-2009 at 05:29 PM.
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Old
01-09-2009, 07:16 PM
  #10
ABasin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensane View Post
I dunno about you, but when I was in school, I considered a B- to be low.
Well, that's a good point actually. Let's go with:

A - Excellent
B - Good
C - Average
D - Below average/Not so good
F - Outright sucks



-AB

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01-09-2009, 07:17 PM
  #11
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Originally Posted by PeterTheGreat View Post
Arnason: F+
Does he get the '+' because he's an Avs center who has not been hurt?

-AB

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01-09-2009, 07:46 PM
  #12
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I'd flunk them all.

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Old
01-10-2009, 02:43 AM
  #13
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Hejduk: B

His numbers are dissapointing but he's creating offense this year instead of letting Paul/Peter do it all for him.

Smyth: A-

Smyth is one of only two Avs players where game in game out he's doing something useful and noticeable on the ice. Yes he's overpaid though.

Stastny: C+

Too many pointless droughts and nights where he isnt contributing on or off the scoresheet. Not alot of visible improvement in the past two years.

Wolski: B-

Inconsistent (common them with this team). But exceeding expectations. May still only end up with 50ish points but overall with his increased defensive play has had a bigger impact than the past two seasons.

Sakic: C-

Rating him on what he's done this year? Simply not good enough.

Svatos: P

Pass due to some shootout heroics helping the Avs to gain alot of points. Otherwise he's been poor. Keeping with Canadian standards we dont give fails. Just a pass with no letter grade.

Arnason: F

Simply put, even in Canada where failing grades dont exist he still gets an F.

Jones: C+

If you look back at his career numbers he has a pattern of sucking for a year then tearing it up the next. I was hoping he'd show more offensive upside but looks like a skilled third liner now. Nothing bad about it, but nothing good about it either.


Tucker: P

Helps the team by being too injured to play.

Hensick: C-

If a young player like this isnt getting points you can give him a free pass for awhile, which is why he's at a C- rather than a P. But he needs to at least create offensive chances for himself or his linemates because he doesnt have the gametype for a bottom six role.

Laperriere: A

The only other Avalanche where every single game you know when he's on the ice. Good for Lappy, bad for the team.

McLeod: B-

Exceeding the expectations placed upon him since there were none to begin with.

Stewart: B-

Hasnt looked like a total failure, but needs to show he's more than another Jones.

McCormick: C+

I expected him to stink and he's only slightly stunk.

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