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Avs Wrap: Byram Keeps Skating, How Much Should Kuemper Play Down the Stretch?

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Bo Byram skated again today, and he’s really looked fast. Whether that means a return still this season with the Avalanche? Nobody really knows, maybe not even Byram himself. Officially, he remains on personal leave.

But, Byram is around the team again, using team facilities, conversing with teammates again, etc., etc. So, once again with Bo Byram, there is hope at least.

So, there are 28 games left in the regular season. One question I have is: how much should Darcy Kuemper play down the stretch? Should his workload be cut back some, to save more energy for the playoffs? Especially, when the Avs pretty much have the Central Division and Western Conference titles already wrapped up?

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There was a scary moment last night when Kuemper was bowled over in the net. He’s had knee injuries before, so it was a nervous moment or two when he was down. He turned out to be fine, but should he play less down the stretch, to lessen the chances of some ghastly injury right before the playoffs (a la Semyon Varlamov in 2018?).

Let’s hear what you think on that. I think he should play a bit less because of this. Getting Pavel Francouz more action could definitely benefit him and the Avs for the playoffs too.

Some other Avs notes, and a couple from around the league:

  • Colorado picked up its league-best 18th comeback win of the season. It was the club’s 10th third-period rally, also tops in the NHL.
  • Cale Makar registered two points (2a) to extend his career-best point/assist streak to nine games, equaling the franchise record for longest assist streak by a blueliner. He matches John-Michael Liles’ nine-game run from Oct. 7-26, 2010. Makar has established a new career-high in assists (40), surpassing his previous best of 38 set during his rookie campaign in 2019-20. He leads all defensemen in points (58), goals (18) and is tied for third in assists.
  • Devon Toews scored his 10th goal of the season to surpass his total goals from last year and set a new career high. Toews now has career-best numbers in goals (10), assists (32) and points (42) in 2021-22 and paces the league in plus/minus rating at +45. He tallied three points tonight to equal his career-best. It’s the fifth three-point night of his career, three of which have been this season (last: Jan. 22 vs. Montreal).
  • Andre Burakovsky, on scoring for his third straight game: “You just got to stay with it. Like I said before, I think I was creating before too and I got chances, just maybe a little bit unlucky. It didn’t bounce my way. I think [tonight] if you look at the goal, I think it hit the D-man’s stick or something and went five-hole on the goalie. Yeah, the luck turned a little bit and it’s nice to see them go in.”
  • Toews, on the Avs’ up-and-down power play: “I know the stats show it’s down from what our percentages are, but we feel like we are creating momentum for our team. I think two or three of them we’ve had with one or two seconds after the power play, which affects the stat right there pretty quickly, but we’re getting looks, we’re moving. You know, we’re getting good time in practice to work on it and just finding different looks against different teams. We’re seeing some
    teams now that we haven’t seen in a long time, so it’s going to be a different look every night and we’re just trying to find the open guy and hit him.”
  • Toews, on playing against his former team for the first time: “Just nice to win. You know, that’s the most important thing. You have friends on other teams and people that are close to you, but at the end of the day, we got to go out there and do our job and we were fortunate tonight to get the win. I think at times, we didn’t look very good and at other times, we looked really dangerous. But if we want to go on a long run, we got to do it for 60 every night.”
  • In NHL stuff, I don’t think people should put much stock into Filip Forsberg trade deadline rumors (NHL.com)
  • But Anaheim might be dealing some potential UFAs (Hockey News)
  • San Jose: Take one off the trade market? Tomas Hertl says contract talks are going well with the San Jose Sharks.
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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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idavsfan

Agreed – a little more work for Frankie would do both goalies some good.

Cal G

I bet Forsberg would be so stoked to join the Avs! Byram is looking really good!

Last edited 3 months ago by Cal G
Karl Keen

Strange game last night. Large bouts of us just dominating, but relaxing to much. After seeing Clutterbuck play. Yes please. He was all over and made a nifty pass on one of the Islanders’ goals. Him in place of Jost would be great. Was hoping Chara would play. Interested in him for pure size and still effective on PK. Maybe when we play them again. As for Kuemper, I thought two of his goals were rather weak last night, the first goal and then the goal where he failed to control the rebound on a rather innocuous shot from the… Read more »

Karl Keen

Oh just saw that Predators say they want to resign Forsberg….

Yan Girard

Lucic and Toffoli aren’t speed dealer. These players can be handicap for their team if the Avs use his speed. Zadorov isn’t a reliable defenseman and his puck decision isn’t his strenght. Getzlaff is no longer to follow the pace of the game. Add a player who is very good for faceoffs would be a good idea. It’s an important lack for Avs set apart the goalie. From here at the trade deadline, spare Kuemper to avoid the injury. Though Chicago wouldn’t be upset to have Kuemper injured.

Last edited 3 months ago by Yan Girard
Karl Keen

I agree we need another face off man

co14ers54

I completely agree with you Karl. Overall, the Avs are terrible in the face-off circle. And, I concede that all face-offs are not created equal – I don’t really care who wins one at center ice. However, special teams face-offs either in our own end on the PK or the opponent’s end on the PP are hugely important. Winning a face-off on the PK and subsequently clearing the puck can result in 10 – 20 second of time off the PK (and obviously less scoring chances for the opponent).

Matt Briggle

I would say probably an 18/10 split for Kuemper. You want to make sure each one is fresh, healthy, and playing well come May. Some extra practice time with the goalie coach won’t hurt to keep those fundamentals sharpened up.

daishi777

Why isn’t Byram on IR? It seems like the cap relief, even on an ELC, would be useful

dk

I would imagine if he doesn’t play by March 20, he will be placed on LTIR. His cap hit is low, but Joe will need that $850k and more.

daishi777

Yeah that’s not how it works. It accrues game by game. I’m not sure how far back they can retroactively apply it, but they could have gotten 300k -450k ish in cap relief if he sits.

dk

I understand. I’m not talking about cap relief though. I’m talking about trade value vs cap space.

robcorkran

I still think getting Paul Statsny back would go for faceoffs, more secondary scoring and get him back to this team before he retires.

Wayne Dunlap

I don’t want us to consider the conference “wrapped up”, it’s bad karma.

If you don’t believe in karma, consider the Islanders fan in front of me last night hooting and hollering like the Isles had just won the cup when they went up 3-2. I politely reminded him that acting like that in an opponents arena is bad karma. Like a typical East Coast asshole he told me to go fuck myself. We all know how it went from there…karma be a bitch dude.

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