Did some thinking overnight, and I still think Tyson Jost can turn around his career. I now think it was the right call to bring him back for at least one more year and maybe start thinking of him more as a defensive specialist, forechecker and PK guy.
Jost got roasted a bit on NHL Draft night, when TSN’s Craig Button said Jost make a “mistake” coming out of North Dakota too soon as a player, while conversely praising Cale Makar for taking more time at UMass before signing with the Avs.
Fair or not, that feeds into my point here: Jost is still just 22 years old. It was probably always too soon to just give up on him, like many of us here (my hand is raised) have felt at times. Let’s not sugarcoat things either: Jost has been a disappointment with the Avs for much of his first three seasons. He’s been given plenty of chances to play on the top six, including at the start of the 2018-19 season as the second-line center. It didn’t work.
Let’s also not sugarcoat things by admitting that Jost’s latest contract should piss him right off. He should have been signing a three-year, $10 million deal or something, the kind of “second” contract kinds of deals like Ryan Graves and J.T. Compher have signed. Instead, he had to take just a one-year deal at his qualifying offer.
So, if that doesn’t motivate him to go out and have a great year, I don’t know what will. But here’s my other point: let’s not judge Jost all by his scoring numbers anymore. I can’t see where he slots in other than as a wing on the fourth line, for the next season. And, he’s going to get some good training camp competition on that job, probably, from Logan O’Connor.
I think Jost can make himself more essential to Jared Bednar by focusing more on his play away from the puck. Become a great defensive player. Be something of a shutdown guy who can pester a team’s top centers/wingers. Let’s face it, Compher still has a long way to go in that department. If Jost works hard enough, he can take Compher’s third-line center job still. I don’t think J.T. had a good playoff at all, and he’s going to have to answer for that in the coach’s mind come next season too.
Jost’s puck-possession numbers are good. They’ve always been pretty good. He’s reliably in the 55% or so range in Corsi at even strength. He showed more promise as a PK guy at times in the postseason, even though the Stars really dominated play in that department at times. They dominated less so, though, when Jost was out there.
Jost definitely needs to improve his faceoff-winning abilities too, if he wants to transform into more of a “defensive” guy. Jost won just 33.3 percent of his draws last season (85 won, 170 lost). Not good. Not good at all.
Listen, by the end of next season, we could easily be saying “Just get what you can for the guy, but get him out of here already.” He may still be traded at some point soon, for all we know. I mean, if he starts camp poorly and O’Connor is clearly the best choice to start on the fourth line, with Bellemare and Calvert, then for the sake of all involved, Joe Sakic might still try to move him.
But let’s just see what happens, with one more chance for the kid.
- Not only was I thinking overnight, I was dreaming some weird ones, including one in which my old colleague, Terry Frei, was playing in a game for the Avs and scored a goal and I was interviewing him about it. I’ve occasionally had dreams where I, too, was a player with the Avs and I was doing things like checking my stats on hockeydb.com and looking at a check for more than a million dollars on it written out to me. Sadly, I always wake up from those.
- Mike “Doc” Emrick is retiring. A sad day for hockey. I don’t have too many Doc stories, as our paths didn’t cross as much as you might think, but I do remember talking Pittsburgh Pirates baseball with him once during a morning skate. He was/is a huge Pirates fan. Here’s more on Doc’s retirement (NY Post)
- I was just mailed Doc’s new book “Off Mike”, though, by the publishing group that has also published a few of my own books, and I hope to have Doc on my podcast soon to talk about it and his career. Here’s more on the book: (Amazon)
- The other book I’m currently reading: One about the making of the 1939 movie classic, “Citizen Kane”, by Harlan Lebo (Amazon)
- A hearty movie recommendation here: “The Invisible Man.” Saw it the other night on HBO and it’s creepy and good.
- Joe Thornton called…Joe Montana?…seeking advice on whether to sign with the Maple Leafs or not (TSN)
- My colleague over at San Jose Hockey Now, Sheng Peng, has a lot of great content about the Thornton departure. Thornton fans will want to read it (San Jose Hockey Now)
- A hearty welcome to Joe Haggerty, who joined another of our sister sites, Boston Hockey Now, the other day. Haggs is the man when it comes to digging deepest for Bruins news.
- At some point fairly soon, we should have all the Hockey Now sites linked up, so Colorado Hockey Now subscribers can access the other sites for free, and vice-versa.
- I don’t know about you, but on Nov. 4 I’m really gonna miss having 4,000 political ads per hour running on my TV. Or, wait, no I won’t.
- Over at NYI Hockey Now, colleague Christian Arnold wonders what next season might look like for the Islanders in the Nassau Coliseum in the final year of the building housing the team (NYI Hockey Now)
- Interesting piece on how much scouts had to adapt in doing their jobs during a time of pandemic (The Score)
- Brian Burke tells some funny stories, including the worst draft interview for a prospect he ever had (and it involves an ex-Av) (Sportsnet)
- Here’s my Brian Burke story: I called him once, when he, in his role as NHL discipline czar, suspended Joe Sakic for a playoff game, in 1998. I told him I was going to write a rip job and just wanted to get his side of the story. I thought I’d get my ass chewed out, but he was surprisingly polite to me over it. He said most media “wouldn’t have the balls to call me” and gave me a really good interview. I’ve always liked him a lot. I like straight shooters who tell you stuff right to your face good or bad, not behind your back. Yes, I know there is the whole Steve Moore-Todd Bertuzzi thing, and I ripped him over that too – and he was just as respectful to me in return. He supposedly will address that story a lot in his forthcoming book, which I can’t wait to read.