These 5 Avalanche Summer Pick-Ups Are Thriving

The Colorado Avalanche have been a high priority threat this season and there are 5 new-comers from this season that they have to thank. Of course, players such as Nate MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen have been leading as well but these guys are ones that just started fresh on this team and have been killing it lately.

Note: Cale Makar has been on fire but he doesn’t count even though he’s a rookie. These are all guys that have just been signed or traded over.

Andre Burakovsky

I’ve mentioned a few times (for example here and here) how happy I am to see this winger fly on the Avs team. Last season in Washington, Andre Burakovsky had 25 points (12G 13A) in 76 games played while averaging 11:08 on the ice per game. 

Now, Burakovsky has 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points in 46 games. He’s been averaging 14:54 on the ice per game, a big step up from last season. You can see from his playing that Burakovsky has grown some confidence in Colorado.

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS
+/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI FO% BLK HIT TK GV
2015-16 20 WSH 79 17 21 38 4 12 126 13.5 238 1029 13:01 45.9 24 37 34 30
2016-17 21 WSH 64 12 23 35 13 14 111 10.8 222 849 13:16 28.6 25 31 33 33
2019-20 24 COL 45 14 17 31 2 14 85 16.5 141 671 14:54 45.5 28 16 23 25
2017-18 22 WSH 56 12 13 25 3 27 84 14.3 170 775 13:50 54.5 26 40 23 34
2018-19 23 WSH 76 12 13 25 2 14 100 12.0 178 846 11:08 35.0 29 35 28 29
2014-15 19 WSH 53 9 13 22 12 10 65 13.8 142 685 12:55 44.3 18 22 18 17
5 yrs WSH 328 62 83 145 34 77 486 12.8 950 4183 12:45 44.7 122 165 136 143
1 yr COL 45 14 17 31 2 14 85 16.5 141 671 14:54 45.5 28 16 23 25
Career 6 yrs 373 76 100 176 36 91 571 13.3 1091 4854 13:01 44.7 150 181 159 168
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2020.

Not only have his points increased along with his ice time but you can see an increase in his shot percentage. Through his 5 seasons with Washington, Burakovsky had averaged a 12.8% Shot Percentage but now he’s up to 16.5%. He’s taking more shots and chances because he’s confident on this team.

He is without a doubt going to pass his career-high point total of 38 points, I’d put money on him getting at least 50 points before the post-season.

Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri came over to the Avs as a part of the trade that sent Tyson Barrie to Toronto (I’m still not okay) BUT what Kadri has been doing for the Avalanche is amazing. Last season, he had 16 goals and 28 assists (44 points) in 73 games with an average of 16:11 on the ice per game.

Now with the Avalanche, Naz has 31 points (17G 14A) in 46 games so far while averaging 17:40 on the ice per game. Much like Burakovsky, Kadri is also been up on his shot percentage and time on ice.

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI FO% BLK HIT TK GV
2009-10 19 TOR 1 0 0 0 -1 0 0 1 17 17:26 15.4 1 1 0 2
2010-11 20 TOR 29 3 9 12 -3 8 51 5.9 94 457 15:47 40.5 6 16 15 26
2011-12 21 TOR 21 5 2 7 2 8 28 17.9 58 297 14:10 26.7 5 25 8 9
2012-13 22 TOR 48 18 26 44 15 23 107 16.8 206 771 16:03 44.2 22 62 23 30
2013-14 23 TOR 78 20 30 50 -11 67 148 13.5 310 1356 17:23 45.3 34 141 44 57
2014-15 24 TOR 73 18 21 39 -7 28 176 10.2 327 1285 17:36 46.2 23 118 44 43
2015-16 25 TOR 76 17 28 45 -15 73 260 6.5 483 1389 18:16 49.2 43 148 47 41
2016-17 26 TOR 82 32 29 61 -7 95 236 13.6 430 1360 16:35 48.1 31 124 58 59
2017-18 27 TOR 80 32 23 55 2 42 211 15.2 367 1341 16:46 50.0 26 94 42 48
2018-19 28 TOR 73 16 28 44 -2 43 184 8.7 366 1182 16:11 55.2 13 85 42 47
2019-20 29 COL 45 15 13 28 1 89 120 12.5 204 795 17:40 56.6 8 59 18 24
10 yrs TOR 561 161 196 357 -27 387 1401 11.5 2642 9455 16:51 48.0 204 814 323 362
1 yr COL 45 15 13 28 1 89 120 12.5 204 795 17:40 56.6 8 59 18 24
Career 11 yrs 606 176 209 385 -26 476 1521 11.6 2846 10250 16:55 48.7 212 873 341 386
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2020.

Kadri’s shot percentage does have a higher jump, going from 8.7% last season to 12.5% as of right now. He’s also playing a big role as a veteran of the league, seeing as he’s on his 11th season. The Avs are a younger team with 18 players at least 25 or younger, meanwhile, Kadri is a bit on the older side at 29.

He fits well into a leadership position, seeing as he’s seen the ups and downs that it came to playing in Toronto. Given his time in the league and undeniable skill, he’s going to be a big part of the Avalanche’s race to the Cup.

Joonas Donskoi

Joonas Donskoi came over to Colorado from the San Jose Sharks ready to prove his worth to the team. In his last season with San Jose, the winger had 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 80 games. Donskoi was playing around 13:25 per game then.

Fast forward to now where he has 29 points (14G 15A) in his first 44 games and averaging 16:52 per game. Much like the other 2, Donskoi has seen a rise in his ice time as well as shot percentage.

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI FO% BLK HIT TK GV
2015-16 23 SJS 76 11 25 36 4 20 107 10.3 189 1076 14:09 66.7 46 31 33 37
2016-17 24 SJS 61 6 11 17 -5 10 95 6.3 168 842 13:49 50.0 27 27 31 35
2017-18 25 SJS 66 14 18 32 10 26 129 10.9 201 988 14:58 41.7 28 28 46 33
2018-19 26 SJS 80 14 23 37 10 10 115 12.2 187 1074 13:25 10.0 36 36 24 38
2019-20 27 COL 44 14 15 29 0 18 84 16.7 129 742 16:52 46.7 25 14 20 16
4 yrs SJS 283 45 77 122 19 66 446 10.1 745 3980 14:04 39.0 137 122 134 143
1 yr COL 44 14 15 29 0 18 84 16.7 129 742 16:52 46.7 25 14 20 16
Career 5 yrs 327 59 92 151 19 84 530 11.1 874 4722 14:26 41.1 162 136 154 159
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2020.

Donskoi has been sidelined the last 2 games with a concussion but skated with a full-contact jersey today. The Avalanche don’t have another game until February 1st due to the All-Star game and bye week. It wouldn’t be a surprise if that was his first game back with the team. 

Donskoi had a career-high of 37 points last season so I anticipate him passing that in the remaining games of this season.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Transitioning from the hot deserts of Vegas to the mountains of Denver, seemed to come easy to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. In his last season with Vegas, Bellemare had 6 goals and 9 assists (15 points) in 76 games while averaging 12:26 on the ice per game.

Cut to now with the Avalanche, Bellemare has 7 goals and 11 assists (18 points) in just 47 games. He’s also up’d his minutes to about 13:23 on the ice. 18 points is a career-high for the 34-year-old.

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI FO% BLK HIT TK GV
2014-15 29 PHI 81 6 6 12 -3 18 113 5.3 204 1039 12:50 47.7 61 121 32 19
2015-16 30 PHI 74 7 7 14 -8 27 102 6.9 199 1004 13:34 47.0 61 65 37 23
2016-17 31 PHI 82 4 4 8 -1 20 90 4.4 172 1064 12:58 48.3 70 73 24 14
2017-18 32 VEG 72 6 10 16 5 14 92 6.5 164 888 12:20 51.2 63 41 49 25
2018-19 33 VEG 76 6 9 15 2 6 108 5.6 186 945 12:26 54.7 51 71 37 23
2019-20 34 COL 47 7 11 18 8 10 55 12.7 85 629 13:23 50.6 29 30 37 13
3 yrs PHI 237 17 17 34 -12 65 305 5.6 575 3107 13:07 47.7 192 259 93 56
2 yrs VEG 148 12 19 31 7 20 200 6.0 350 1832 12:23 52.9 114 112 86 48
1 yr COL 47 7 11 18 8 10 55 12.7 85 629 13:23 50.6 29 30 37 13
Career 6 yrs 432 36 47 83 3 95 560 6.4 1010 5568 12:53 49.9 335 401 216 117
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2020.

Once again, the trend is coming to an increase in shot percentage and time on the ice. He’s up almost a full minute and his shot percentage has gone from 5.6% to 12.7%.

Bellemare has fit in well with Matt Calvert and JT Compher on the 3rd line. He’s got the personality and the skill to keep up with the Avs. The team and fans have taken a liking to him and I can see him sticking around for a long time.

Valeri Nichushkin

Last but not least is Val Nichushkin

Last season, Nichushkin had 10 assists in 57 games played with 11:55 average time on the ice. This season, he’s already got 8 goals with 9 assists for 17 points in 44 games played with an average of 13:32 on the ice per game.

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI FO% BLK HIT TK GV
2013-14 18 DAL 79 14 20 34 20 8 128 10.9 218 1183 14:58 0.0 27 85 25 58
2014-15 19 DAL 8 0 1 1 -5 2 6 0.0 19 110 13:46 1 7 5 6
2015-16 20 DAL 79 9 20 29 2 12 139 6.5 246 1101 13:56 0.0 33 68 33 46
2018-19 23 DAL 57 0 10 10 -4 0 65 0.0 109 679 11:55 50.0 32 71 24 30
2019-20 24 COL 43 8 9 17 18 12 72 11.1 111 582 13:32 33.3 14 50 26 11
4 yrs DAL 223 23 51 74 13 22 338 6.8 592 3073 13:47 37.5 93 231 87 140
1 yr COL 43 8 9 17 18 12 72 11.1 111 582 13:32 33.3 14 50 26 11
Career 5 yrs 266 31 60 91 31 34 410 7.6 703 3654 13:44 36.4 107 281 113 151
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2020.

 

Per our trend here, his shooting percentage jumped from 0% last season to 11.1%. I’m counting it. Nichushkin spent last season in Dallas where he didn’t have the warmest welcome back to the NHL. Fans kinda gave up on Val when he struggled to get a goal, and in turn, can you blame Val for saying he started to give up when in Dallas?

I’m happy he’s gotten a new start with the Avs and that things are going well for him. He’s really found a place on the ice with other newcomers Kadri and Burakovsky. We’ve seen it time and time again that a fresh start goes a long way.

That can be said about any of the 5 players I just talked about. All of them have been trending up since joining the Avs. It’s something you really do love to see. TheAvs are now 2nd in the Central with 62 points and a 28-15-6 record. They just finished game 49 of 82 and I can see them going deep into playoffs this year. I’d put my money on them going past the 2nd round and in my heart, I’d even say they could win the Cup.


Read more at ham-sports.com

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Featured Image:AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

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