Brad Stuart

It’s Colorado Avalanche day at PHT


As the Colorado Avalanche enter their third year of the Joe Sakic-Patrick Roy front office era, they seemingly remain a lab test for the league’s stat debates.

The Avalanche were once again a squad whose possession stats peaked at “really bad, but at least not Buffalo Sabres bad” in 2014-15.

The difference between missing the postseason this past season and 2013-14’s triumphant run may have just been some combination of Semyon Varlamov being less superhuman and Colorado experiencing bad luck.

To the stat-leaning public, this was an example of a team playing over its head one year and then crashing to reality last season.

To Roy, it was a rare failure, as he explained to

“I’m here to win the Stanley Cup,” Roy said. “I’m not in Denver to see us missing the playoffs, I’m here to see us winning. I really want to make sure that’s the last time we’re missing the playoffs. It makes you very humble. First time I missed the playoffs as a coach in junior and the NHL.”

The Avalanche might be humbled, yet they’re also sticking to their guns by defying conventional wisdom as far as strategies and team-building go.

Off-season recap

A year after respectable possession player and scorer Paul Stastny left town, the Avalanche traded away their other forward best known for being a rare beacon of light on a team that’s a fancy stats nightmare: Ryan O’Reilly.

One cannot totally blame the Avs for parting ways with a player who seemed out the door for some time, yet it perpetuates the theme that the Avalanche are bucking growing trends around the league.

That said, Carl Soderberg isn’t chopped liver, although he – like O’Reilly – will fetch quite a bounty for his work next season.

Actually, the haul for O’Reilly is quite intriguing: could Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko pay immediate dividends for the Avs? Considering how often this franchise invests in fading veterans, nabbing a couple potential blue chips could be crucial.

Francois Beauchemin is a fine defenseman, yet at 35, many wonder if he’ll be a letdown along the lines of Brad Stuart. Again, many of these moves ultimately fit into Colorado’s M.O.


The Avalanche seem content to do things their way, which makes them polarizing for some. However you feel about management’s broader moves, it’s foolish to count out a team that still boasts fascinating prime-age talent in Varlamov, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie and more.

Avs eyeing left shot defensemen in free agency


According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, the Avs’ top priority heading into free agency is to add left-handed shooting defensemen.

Chambers previously reported the club is unlikely to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson. Both are left shots.

“As a coach, yes, we’d like to have somebody to play with EJ (inaudible) and Tyson. Obviously, we have (Nick) Holden and (Brad) Stuart, who are left shots, but we’d like to add a defenseman in the top four,” Patrick Roy said. “I think it will help our team tremendously.”

According to, there are currently 60 left shot blue liners set to hit the open market on July 1.

Chambers suggests the Avs will focus on Andrej Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Irwin, Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin. Sekera is the Avs’ top target, according to Chambers.

The 29-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and L.A. Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.

Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi said the team was in negotiations with Sekera last month and believes the blue liner wants to remain in Los Angeles.

Colorado could have as much as $13 million to play with in free agency.

“It’s definitely and exciting time for everybody — stressful as well,” GM Joe Sakic said of free agency. “We’ve got guys that we’re looking to see what we can do about adding to our lineup and see if something fits. It’s a two-way street. You can like somebody but they have to … players pick where they want to go. We have guys in mind that we’d like to come on board and help us win … We’re working and things keep coming up.”

‘I don’t know why we’re so comfortable,’ says Toews after loss to Avalanche


The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t in a bad position to start the third period of Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

But the Blackhawks ended the night on the losing end of a 4-1 score, after allowing three goals in the span of 3:08 past the midway point of the final period. The final Colorado goal came off the stick of Brad Stuart, who lifted a bouncing puck in on Corey Crawford from center ice. The puck went under Crawford’s stick and in.

The Avalanche is a long shot to make the playoffs, with three teams to leapfrog just to get into ninth place in the Western Conference. The Avs are desperate, though, and seven points out of the final Wild Card spot.

Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t pleased with the effort of his team, especially at a time when other teams below them in the standings are trying to make a late push to the post-season.

“Not to blow any smoke in our favor, but it’s what we expect,” said Toews, as per the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Especially when we’re playing a division team that’s chasing a playoff spot, that’s on its last legs and has to win to survive. We’re in that position, too. We’ve got to think much the same. I don’t know why we’re so comfortable playing a team like that.”

Video: Stuart’s bouncer from center beats Blackhawks goalie Crawford


Bit of a difficult night for goaltenders. Just ask Corey Crawford.

He allowed four goals on 30 shots and his Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Friday. But the one goal that basically ended any hope of a Chicago comeback on this night came off the stick of defenseman Brad Stuart.

Stuart’s flip shot from center ice bounced its way to the Blackhawks net and under the stick of Crawford, giving Colorado its three-goal lead. The reaction of the fans, tossing their heads back and hands in the air as a collective group, says it all.

The 35-year-old Stuart is up to two goals this season.


Video: Avs honor Stuart for 1,000th game

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Prior to puck drop between the Blues and Avalanche tonight in Colorado, Brad Stuart was honored for playing in his 1,000th NHL game.

Originally a first-round pick (3rd overall) by the San Jose Sharks in 1998, Stuart spent six seasons with the Sharks before stops in Boston, Calgary, L.A. and Detroit.

The 35-year-old returned to San Jose for the 2012-13 season before getting dealt to the Avalanche in July.

In total, Stuart has 77 goals and 322 points in 1,002 games during 15 seasons.