The Avalanche are the Stanley Cup champs and are 11-5-1 despite a bunch of injuries. So, this story falls into the “nitpicking” category. Don’t get me wrong, they can still be a powerhouse again, but there is one element still missing to what most hockey people say is an essential part of winning. They are failing to win faceoffs and are last in the league with a 43.8 winning percentage at the dot. The Avalanche finished the regular season last year with a 47.3 winning percentage, which was 28th in the league. So, uh, yeah, you can still win without being a great faceoff team. The Avalanche proved it. But what has changed to make the percentage drop even more, to last?
Let’s start with what changed. There are two players that the Avalanche lost over the summer to free agency that made a difference in faceoffs. I am sure that you can probably guess one right away, but the other may take you a second to figure out.