Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon is beyond a three-star player. If there were a fourth star, he would have it. And teammates Cale Makar and Ryan Graves, among others, are perhaps equally as important to a club that flirted with the Western Conference regular-season championship before the coronavirus pandemic halted the season.
To help fill the void of no games, here’s a look back at the Avs who have played at least 20 games, with star ratings given to each:
+++-plus C Nathan MacKinnon — Leads team and ranks fifth in NHL scoring with 93 points. A clear-cut Hart Trophy finalist as league MVP, and he should be ready to go after missing the team’s last game before the pause with a lower-body injury.
+++-plus D Cale Makar — Show-stopping rookie averaged 0.88 points-per-game, highest among rookies and fourth among all NHL defensemen.
+++ D Ryan Graves — Has flourished as a top-pair defenseman with Makar and leads the league with a plus-40 rating.
+++ G Pavel Francouz — Tied for fifth in NHL save percentage (.923) and is seventh in goals-against average (2.41).
+++ W Andre Burakovsky — Wanted out of Washington for a new opportunity and has a career-high 20 goals and 45 points in just 58 games.
+++ W Gabe Landeskog — Team captain is its hottest current scorer, with 10 points (three goals) in his last five games. He’s also the ideal leader.
++-plus W Mikko Rantanen — World-class talent has missed 28 games because of two long injury stints but has 41 points in 42 games.
++-plus C Nazem Kadri — The offseason addition is the ideal second-line center for this team and his leadership is a plus.
++-plus W Joonas Donskoi — Another excellent offseason pickup who has a career-high 16 goals and can play throughout the lineup.
NHL extending isolation period for players and staff to April 6
Avs podcast: Colorado’s top-10 games of a memorable season thus far and more
Nuggets/Avalanche ticket holders in limbo amid postponed seasons for coronavirus pandemic
Avs Mailbag: Who would Colorado most want to see in playoffs — if games are actually played?
Legends employee who recently worked at Pepsi Center tests positive for coronavirus
++-plus D Sam Girard — Logs a team-high 21:19 and usually has the puck on his stick or is making the right pass at the key moments.
++-plus W Valeri Nichushkin — Bought out by the Dallas Stars last summer, the big Russian has resurrected his NHL career with the Avalanche.
++-plus W Matt Calvert — A key bottom-six forward and team leader who has been sorely missed in the 20 games he’s been unable to play because of injuries.
++-plus D Ian Cole — The big-bearded, two-time Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh is more than a shutdown defenseman; he is closing in on career highs in goals and points.
++-plus D Erik Johnson — With Makar and Girard in the lineup, Johnson no longer plays on the power play but eats a lot of minutes at even-strength and on the penalty kill.
++ C J.T. Compher — Has fallen off slightly from his offensive production during the last two years but seems to be a suitable third-line center.
++ C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — The defensive specialist and oldest member of the team (34) has a career-high nine goals and 25 points.
++ W Matt Nieto — A primary penalty killer who has played on all four lines; Nieto and Girard are the only Avs to have played in all 70 games.
++ D Mark Barberio — Has only played 21 games but has been a solid extra defenseman who never complains.
++ G Philipp Grubauer — Ranks 17th in goals-against average (2.63) and 18th in save percentage (.916) but is a valuable playoff-proven goalie.
+ C Tyson Jost — The 10th pick of the 2016 draft has not met expectations, with just 72 points in 208 career games. But he’s still only 22.
+ D Nikita Zadorov — Scratched three times for subpar play, the Russian is an important player who is madly inconsistent.
+ W Vladislav Kamenev — Just one goal in 38 games and only still in the NHL because he is waiver-wire eligible if he was reassigned to the minors.
Note: Winger Vladislav Namestnikov, who has played just nine games since being acquired Feb. 24, and Colorado Eagles regular forwards Logan O’Connor and T.J. Tynan, who have both played 16 games with the Avs, were among those not “star-worthy” based on their small sample size.
Article Source and Credit feeds.denverpost.com http://feeds.denverpost.com/~r/dp-sports/~3/wGmYE0npnm8/ Buy Tickets for every event – Sports, Concerts, Festivals and more buytickets.com