John Mitchell is Avs Second Top Goal Scorer – This is Bad

Colorado’s official Twitter feed proudly tweeted the following earlier this evening:

“John Mitchell leads the @Avalanche in plus/minus rating (+9) and is tied for second in goals (6) and fourth in points (10). #GoAvsGo” 

I like John Mitchell. Genuinely I do. He is a solid depth pick up who should have helped the Avs down the lines – much like Jay McClement did before him. There is always the chance that he’ll repeat his 2007/08 feat of scoring 20 goals (or pro rata that down to 10-12 due to the shortened season) and his +9 is a testament to his ability to play at both ends of the ice. In short he is a good bottom 6 player for most teams in the league ‘IMHO’

But….

If John Mitchell is the Avs second top goal scorer, with a third of his stunted season gone, then to be perfectly frank, the Avs are in fucking trouble!

It’s probably worth pointing out Mitchell is only second in goals by virtue of having played one game less than Matt Duchene; whose play has been one of only about two high points for the Avs this season (the other being Varlamov’s play which has, mostly, been good and gives us heart for the future).

But the fact remains, Mitchell has 6 goals to be the clubs second top goal scorer behind PA Parenteau with 8.

Mitchell is also fourth in scoring for the club with 10 points; again by virtue of missing one game, giving him the nod over Paul Stastny in the statistical charts.

But the fact remains, he is the second highest goal scorer and fourth highest points scorer….

Again, I like John Mitchell – but how is he one of the teams top performers through 17 games?

Hell, how is it that he has had to play among the teams top 6 this season? A man who the Rangers didn’t even dress for 19 games last year is part of the Avs top two offensive lines? Are things that bad? (Hint – the answer is basically ‘yes’)

Gabriel Landeskog would almost certainly be better than his current 1+1 had he not missed 11 games, and would have taken up one of those top 6 spots. Steve Downie would also have featured far more prominently, after a superb 2011/12 campaign, but injury cut him down after just 2 games.

What we seem to be left with, again, is the ugly spectre of Dave Jones $4m contract as he sits on 2+3 and a -9 through 17 games whilst RYAN O’REILLY IS SAT AT HOME BECAUSE THE CLUB WON’T PAY HIM

I’m sorry but how on Earth can they justify freezing O’Reilly out when we’re having to play John Mitchell in the top 6 and they pay Jones $4m a season? And Stastny a team high $6m per year for the same offensive output as Mitchell?

I am perhaps being a little unfair on Jamie McGinn (3 goals, 11 points) and recent addition Aaron Palushaj (2 goals and 4 points in 6 games with the club); but the Avs offence has been slim this year and the paper thin forward ranks are only a Matt Duchene injury away from disaster……oh wait, he’s missing tonights game with San Jose due to a groin strain…

In net and on the blue line I have some heart; the Avs have collected some good young guys and prospects to at least justify the idea they are rebuilding at the back.

But the teams lack of offensive clout is getting embarrassing now. Credit where it is due, they did go out and get a big body in Parenteau in the summer and injuries account for two thirds of the clubs best line missing a collective 26 games, but leaving O’Reilly on the back burner is almost unforgivable.

The ‘performance to dollars’ ratio of Jones and Stastny is appalling given that they are the highest and second highest earners on the team (Note:- Parenteau also earns $4m per year; so I guess it is ‘joint second highest earner’). Behind Duchene, McGinn and Parenteau they ‘are’ the clubs secondary scorers now; and they ain’t scoring.

What is more worrying is the chronic lack of prospects in the pipeline to pick up the slack in the near future and fill existing holes in the roster; let alone help plug the hole Milan Hejduk’s inevitable retirement will bring.

Sgarbossa looked good in his half dozen games in an Avs sweater, but didn’t score a single point. The jury is still out on Hishon. After that? Not a whole lot in the system.

If you can’t score, you won’t win hockey games. But then, I am seriously questioning the clubs managements commitment to winning these days.

I apologise for the lengthy and somewhat ranty blog here, but having watched the team stumble through the past 8 years since the lockout shattered any semblance of what was left of the ‘glory days’, I am starting to get a little annoyed.

It’s essentially been an 8 year rebuild that has gone nowhere. Just as things start to look up and gain momentum, something happens. See Craig Andersons rise and subsequent fall (out….with management – a familiar story) for just one example of this.

Where is the club now? Rebuilding? Which rebuild is this? Still the original one from 8 years ago? A second one triggered by the selection of Duchene in 2009? Or Landeskog in 2011? How much longer do they give Sacco as coach? or GM Greg Sherman even? Is the club rebuilding at all? Or just trying to assemble 20 guys who will tick over, say ‘yes’ when the club needs them to (as opposed to O’Reilly, Anderson and co who ‘dared’ to try and negotiate with the front office) and maintain the status quo?

The teams notoriously secretive way of operating doesn’t help matters, but can be painted over when the team is competitive.

Right now, the team just isn’t very competitive and I’m concerned they may not been for several more years.

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on February 26, 2013, in Colorado Avalanche, Hockey, NHL and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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