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Avs Game Grades: Colorado can’t capitalize



Avs lose to Caps 10/19

Andre Burakovsky (D) – It wasn’t a very good night at all from the top line. The trio of Burakovsky, MacKinnon and Rantanen combined for a -14 tonight. There’s no need to over-react to this, or this game in general. The Avs are down a couple of key guys and we’re only three games into the year.

Burakovsky played nearly 20 minutes and had one giveaway. He was one of two forwards to not record a shot on goal tonight.

Nathan MacKinnon (C-) – Not the return Nathan MacKinnon was likely hoping for after missing the past couple due to a positive covid test. He, along with Rantanen and Cale Makar, each tied for the team lead with minus-five’s. MacKinnon did pad the stats a bit by getting an assist on a late Mikko Rantanen goal. So there’s that.

Mikko Rantanen (C-) – Yes, he scored a goal, but, no, it didn’t matter. He led the forward group with nearly 22 minutes of ice time.

Sampo Ranta (D) – Not much to say about Sampo tonight. Pretty quiet night, as was the case for every Avs forward. He had one giveaway tonight in 13 minutes of ice time.

Nazem Kadri (D+) – Was called for embellishment (*queue “how many games does the NHL suspend him?” jokes*) that he shouldn’t have been called for. Then he took another in the third. Finished with a minus-two and one takeaway.

J.T. Compher (C+) – Showed off some speed and strength on his short-handed goal and beat Samsonov on a nice shot. He then drew a penalty shortly thereafter. He added two hits and led the team with two takeaways, to boot. Good game from J.T. Compher…more of that, please.

Darren Helm (C+) – Was the beneficiary of Logan O’Connor’s efforts early in the second to earn his first goal in the Burgundy and Blue. He somehow finished the game with a plus-two in a game his team lost 6-3.

Tyson Jost (D) – Backed off waaaay too much on the fourth goal allowed. He just stood there and gave Kuznetsov about seven feet of room to wire one past Darcy Kuemper. As one of the players who is entrusted by coach Bednar as a defensive specialist, this was not a great game for Tyson.

Logan O’Connor (C+) – OC’s wheels were on display in the second when he wheeled around the Capitals’ net, make some quick turns, bought himself some space and hit Helm with a beautiful pass to tie the game at two in the second period. O’Connor’s game was one of the very few bright spots tonight.

Martin Kaut (D-) – I’m being 100% honest with you, and maybe I wasn’t paying that close of attention, but I legitimately didn’t see Martin Kaut at all. Only on the stat sheet was I able to find any indication that he did in fact get ice time tonight. That said, he didn’t do anything great. Kaut is starting to look more and more like a bust.

Mikhail Maltsev (D) – Like Kaut, I didn’t notice much from Mikhail Maltsev tonight. Not much else to say outside of that.

Superstreak Bonus!


Sam Girard (D-)- Not a great game from Sammy G, nor anyone from the defense, really. He took a silly penalty and finished with a minus-three.

Cale Makar (C-) – Rarely does Cale Makar get beaten in a foot race. Almost never, actually. But that’s exactly what happened when Kuznetsov blew past Makar early in the first to give the Caps an early 1-0 lead. I noticed he fanned on a few passes throughout the contest too.

The season has started a bit slow for Cale Makar. I have no doubt he’ll return to Norris form soon enough though. But tonight though…minus-five. Rough.

Bo Byram (C+) – I thought Byram skated pretty well tonight. Not that we saw much of him last season, but he’s looked really good so far. He finished tonight with an assist, a plus-one and team-high four hits.

Erik Johnson (C-)- I thought he looked a little slow out there tonight. Wasn’t quick with his stops and turns and was pretty easily beat in some corner foot battles in his own zone. He finished with a plus-one though.

Jack Johnson (C-) – Took a puck to the face and had to get some repairs, so his minutes were a bit skewed. He finished with just 12. He recorded a block and a takeaway in that time.

Ryan Murray (F) – Really, really rough game by Ryan Murray. He, along with Makar, got burnt by Kuznetsov on the first goal (see header image). It looked like Murray just gave up on the play too. Haven’t seen much in the first three games that has stood out at all, or added any sort of value to this team.

Kurtis MacDermid (F) – I’m gonna be honest…I was Team MacDermid. I like the edge he plays with, the punch-em-in-the-mouth attitude he has. But I’m starting to agree with (most) Avs fans who say he’s a liability. He was exposed numerous times and was caught just not moving his feet. Like here. I think Bednar noticed too. He played the fewest amount of minutes of any Avalanche tonight.

Darcy Kuemper (C-) – Would he like a couple of those back? Of course he would. But damn near every goal was a huge defensive breakdown by the team defense. Brutal, brutal game for team defense tonight. There’s not much Kuemper could do on a majority of them.

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A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Scott has so far spent the early parts of his young career covering Colorado hockey — from the Avalanche to the Colorado Eagles to the DU Pioneers. His work can be found across sites such as, and SB Nation, among others. Scott currently resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, where he works as a Marketing Executive when he's not writing.

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Brandon Eccles

It was a horrible game by all… guys need to wake up and shake off the rust. I really thought that JJ would be the odd D out when Toews came back, but it looks like Murray.

Spencer Bradshaw

Byram already looks better than Girard. I’d like to see 49 get it together sooner rather than later.


We should trade Girard straight up for a bag of pucks


It was an atrocious game. No sugar coating this one. The boys showed no heart and very little effort. At the very least, MacDermid could have punched Tom Wilson in the face so we could have a little something to smile about…

Karl Keen

Where’s Yan Girard?

Yan Girard

I lift my hat at Bednar for having dressed 7 defensemen. Everyone knows that the defensemen like to play at 7. Good performance of the players at 9 millions Makar and Rantanen with minus -5. I liked the commitment of the forwards and defensemen in defensive. Appropriate support, good chemistry and play with speed. No hesitation in their game. The players wanted to win and were really ready to begin the season. A special mention at Logan O’Connor. He is the best player since the start of the year. Sakic is right with the contract extension of 3 years at… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander A.
Kevin Hopper

Not sure how Makar, MacKinnon, Rantanen, Kuemper dont end up with F’s on this one. This team, like all other good teams, have no chance at anything when the top dogs are this brutal. Twitter loves to rip guys like Murray, Kaut, MacDermid but bottom of the lineup guys are not the problem right now

Chris DeMott

Scott, I want to say that I generally enjoy your work and especially your hockey analysis but this Game Grades Grade… D. Logan O’Conner was fantastic showing much more skill and hockey IQ than the position he was in and he get’s a C+, Cale plays maybe his worst game in an Avs uniform and he gets a C-. Compher does all you ask of him and starts to look like the Compher of old… C+. Mackinnon sleepwalks through the game C-. If we are going to use trite ideas like game grades for players, can we at least make… Read more »

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