Hammering a point home

This week James Mirtle has been doing an interesting series overview comparing the teams Goals for, Goals against, Team points, and goaltending from last season to this season. Obviously the very first thing that I did was to look at how the Avs are doing, and the verdict isn't a surprising one.

First looking at points, the Avs are on pace for a 77-point season, which would easily be the Avs worst since moving to Colorado. It's also on pace for the third biggest drop-off from last season to this season, the only teams who have deteriorated more: Dallas and Ottawa.

The biggest surprise in the entire series is how poorly the Avs are doing in the goals scored department. Last season the Avs scored 224 goals, and this season they are on pace to score only 203, which is a 9% drop. this looks even worse when you consider:
  • The Avs lost Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny, and Ryan Smyth for significant part of last season.
  • Goal scoring is up this year by nearly .5 goals per game
  • Most importantly: Tony Granato was supposed to bring a more up-tempo offense to the table, which would mean more goals scored.
Clearly the Avs offense so far this season has been an epic failure. Some of it can be blamed on losing Andrew Brunette, but certainly not all.

So the Avs offense is struggling, but the defense was supposed to be the core of this team, and carry the young Avs offense through the inconsistent patches. We see how that has gone. The Avs gave up 216 goals last year, and are on pace to give up 251 this season, which is a 35 goal, 16% turnaround. (Just think the Avs are on pace to go from +8 to -48... ouch). At least there's a credible explanation for this:
  • There are more goals against in general this season
  • The Avs are starting a new system which gives up more scoring chances
  • The Avs have had inconsistent goaltending this season.
2/3 of those reasons are bogus in my opinion. The first one is leaguewide and affects the avs too, so I'll let that one go. The last two, however, can be easily dispelled. The Avs have abandoned their system, and are focusing on defense almost solely now. It may have affected some of the first few games (as did the second bullet) but it's not the case.

And Mirtle's goaltender post pretty much negates the second point. Everyone knows I don't really like save % as an indicator of goalie play because there are other factors that influence it, however it's the best indicator we have and it does have some value as a statistic (unlike +/-). And the Avs save % this season is only slightly worse than last season (.893 this season to .904 last season) or down only 1.1%.

The verdict: every aspect of the Avs this season is under performing so far (shocking I know), but of the three Offense is the worst, followed closely by the defense. The goaltending has actually been pretty consistent with last season's performance.


  1. .893 is bad, bad goaltending considering the league average is .905.

    I'm afraid Budaj/Raycroft get a heap of blame, too.

  2. Well I was trying to be nice to Raycroft (not sure why). Budaj's Save % (.903) is just below league average (.905). Raycroft's sparkling .839 is what's keeping that one low.

    Weird part is, Raycroft is 2-1 this season even with that save % (small sample size)