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Avalanche player grades from win over Chicago; Kuemper stellar



A very, very strong showing from the Colorado Avalanche tonight in beating the Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s take a look at how the players fared individually:

Gabe Landeskog (A-) You know what? He is definitely quicker than last season. Why? Because that skate-blade injury in the 2020 playoffs, when Cale Makar slashed Landeskog’s thigh to the bone, has fully healed. Landy still had a very good year last year, but he just looks faster again. He was outstanding in the game.

Well, except for that bad boarding penalty near the end of the game. I don’t think it should be a suspension, thouugh.

Nazem Kadri (A) – Scored a goal in his first since the awful suspension from last spring. He looked like the old Nazz. He’s motivated to have a big year.

Mikko Rantanen (A-) – Strong game for the Moose. He looks stronger than last year. Didn’t notice him falling down much at all.

Valeri Nichushkin (B) – He took a hard hit and appeared hurt, but shook it off and returned. He skated well and was active around the puck.

J.T. Compher (C+) – Took a couple of penalties, one of which led to Chicago’s first goal. He’s got to stay disciplined out there.

Andre Burakovsky (C) – To be honest, I didn’t notice him much tonight, but that’s OK in this case. He will score his goals at some point.

Alex Newhook (C) – Didn’t play a lot, and really didn’t have the puck too much either. Still, it was nice to see him start the season with the big club. It’ll come.

Darren Helm (B-) – I thought he played a pretty good veteran game. He took a hard hit late in the second period and appeared hurt for a bit, but played on. It was his first game NOT as a Detroit Red Wing in his long career,

Jayson Megna (C+) – He skated hard and competed in his limited minutes.

Superstreak Bonus!

Sampo Ranta (B) – I liked his game for the most part. He’s an aggressive player and goes to the net hard.

Tyson Jost (B-) – He didn’t do much offensively, but he skated hard and was good defensively I thought. He needs to score more goals this season, though.

Logan O’Connor (B+) – Good, solid aggressive game from No. 25. He got in the faces of Chicago, which is what he likes to do.

Jack Johnson (A) – Great debut for the Avs. Scored a wicked pretty good to get the scoring started, backhand top cookies. Laid a couple of big hits on Hawks.

Sam Girard (A) – I loved his skating and puck-handling. He had the puck a lot and did good things with it. Had one bad turnover to Kirby Dach, but Kuemper bailed him out.

Erik Johnson (A) – Seriously, he had a great first game back. At one point late in the game, he had 25 Corsi events for, five against. That works.

Cale Makar (B+) – Had some flashy moments, doing Cale things. Also was running around a little bit at times in the second period, when Chicago had some good moments. Still, a solid night for No. 8.

Ryan Murray (C+) – He was not very noticeable, but that’s not a bad thing for D-man. Corsi numbers were just average. Looked a tad slow.

Bo Byram (A) – Great game for the rookie. Scored his first career goal and assisted on another. He looked MUCH better than at any point last season.

Darcy Kuemper (A-) Allowed goals in the first and third, but otherwise looked good. Made a big breakaway save on Kirby Dach in the second period to preserve a 3-1 lead and flashed the pads well at other times. Kemps finished with 32 saves on 34 shots (.941 saves percentage).

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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peter martin

Ranta > Newhook Game Stars: Keumper, Johnson, Byram, Kadri. Dunce of the Game: Landeskog for his reckless shift and needless boarding that gave the Hawks life late in the 3rd.

John Mauss

Absolutely right-on concerning Landy. Very poor leadership shown by the Captain and a dangerous hit as well as needlessly risking the game.

Bob Neal

Somebody needs to calm Landy down. That stupid penalty could have greatly complicated winning the game. I also think he’ll get a suspension for it.


Kuemper A+. Several OUSTANDING saves including breakaways. The first goal was on a BS powerplay that was a blown call, and Ryan Murray deflected it into his own net. The second goal was unstoppable with an NHL player walking down the slot with several seconds to pick a spot, which he did. Great shot. Your B+ grade suggests he could’ve been better, but I just don’t see how Kemp could’ve been any better than tonight.


Girard an “A” with a big turnover leading to a breakaway opportunity? I wish you were one of my college teachers. Excellent game from Byram, JJ and Kuemper. EJ was fantastic, as well. Jost and Newhook invisible. Murray too slow and not as physical as I thought he’d be. Helm was average – age is catching up with him. How do you keep Ranta out of this lineup? Sit Newhook or Helm when Mackinnon returns. Murray the odd man out when Toews returns. No focus on closing out the game with tight “D.” Scrambling around the Avs end and against… Read more »


Girard could have had a hat trick and 4 assists and Rico would complain about the way his skates were laced. Guy will ALWAYS have some hate to throw Girard’s way.

Also guessing he forgot about Megna when talking about who to sit when Mack comes back, because I can’t believe even Rico would like Megna’s game.


Well – – you’ll get a “Thumbs Up” from Yan Girard for your post. Girard played well – a “B” in my estimation. But nowhere near an “A” – like Jack Johnson, who showed you how a real defenseman plays. Tough, physical, hammers people down low, clears out the puck and oh yeah – – scored a nifty goal, too! Megna has high energy but if it’s a choice between Ranta and Megna, it’s Ranta all the way. He’s bigger, more physical and can create his own space with his skating abilities. Flat out, he adds more to the team… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by ricoflashback

If Sammy Girard gets a hat trick and four assists – – I’ll get you a Sammy Girard Av’s uniform just like the one I’ll get for Yan if the Avs win the Stanley Cup and Girard is, at least, a +1 ratio.

Brian Webb

AVS need to work on Face Offs. Hawks were terrible last year BUT DOMINATED the AVS tonight on FaceOffs. Compher’s penalty was BS. Darcy is A+.
Girard made the same bad plays at the blue line giving up break aways in the playoffs. Grubauer didn’t make the save then, nice to see Darcy make them now.

Jared Moss

Man bryam is smooth honestly looked better than makar at times, whatever surgery makar got you can tell he’s being very cautious, not the same up speed tempo. Bryam if healthy will be a star! Also wicked goal by the kid. Newhook isn’t ready let him develop another year don’t kill this kids Career starting to early like Lazar. Play macdermaid I mean you traded for him at least let him hit a few people

peter martin

IDK the staff is putting Newhook in a position yo succeed. Jost and Nuke had great chemistry. I don’t think Jost is the right guy to center Newhook. They should put Newhook at C, or with someone more on his skill level.

On the flip side, Ranta looks great. Big, fast bulldozer. Had some tenacious and dangerous shifts. V excited for him!


Byram was fantastic last night – – clearing the zone, incredible stick handling, nifty moves and physical when he needed to be. He’s just scratched the surface of his immense talent. Bo has a hockey sense that you cannot teach. Smooth as butter. He’s going to get better and better. Hats off to Joe Sakic and the Avs organization for drafting him…and getting lucky in having him fall to number four in the draft.

Last edited 1 year ago by ricoflashback
Yan Girard

Byram has been very good. He will a stud. Makar didn’t play at his better. Makar played 6 minutes of more than Byram, this isn’t nothing. But, I’m not worried for Makar.


Both penalties on Compher were bad calls. I guess he could stay more disciplined by not competing for the puck at all.


That Johnson goooal! Oh man was that an ”I love hockey is back” moment or what. I bet he never scored a finesse goal like that before.

Based on first game, O’Connor most developed. He was on fire. More ice for him!

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