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Avalanche Season In Review: An Injury And Penalty Plagued Year For Josh Manson

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Josh Manson Avalanche stars trade

With the season for the Colorado Avalanche complete, it’s time to take a look back at the individual players and how they performed.

Next up is Josh Manson.

Let’s take a look at his stats from an injury-plagued season.

Games: 27

Goals: 2

Assists: 8

Points: 10

CF%: 48.67%

GF%: 67.65%

PIM: 42

Last off-season, the Avalanche signed Manson to a four-year, $18 million contract. He had a slow start after being acquired at the deadline, as he needed time to adjust to a new system, but proved to be very valuable in the playoffs, helping the team win the Cup. The extension was a bit of a surprise, mostly because there were some rumblings he wanted to return to Anaheim, but the Avalanche signed him to keep their talented defense together. A defense they barely saw play together this season.

Manson’s season, however, did not get off to a strong start. For the first month of the season, it seemed like he couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. He took seven minor penalties in the first eight games, and ultimately, finished with 16 minors in his 27 games. If you prorate that out over the course of a full season, that would have given him 48 minors, which would have led the NHL.

He did have some major penalties as well, and one of those came on maybe his biggest highlight of the season. On Nov. 21, he and Jamie Benn dropped the gloves in Dallas, and Manson walked away with a knockout victory.

On the ice, the team spent more time in their end than in the offensive zone with Manson on the ice. However, luck was on his side. He had the highest Goals For Percentage on the team, partly because the team shot over 11% with him on the ice. That was the highest on the team. The next closest defenseman, by comparison, was Devon Toews at 8.98%. The team also had a very high save percentage with him on the ice, even though he was on the ice for more scoring chances and high-danger chances against than for. Those numbers might have evened out over the course of a full season, but unfortunately, injuries essentially finished his year.

Early in December, Manson left the lineup due to a lower-body injury. The original prognosis for him was 4-6 weeks. It turned out to be an 11 week injury, and he didn’t return to the lineup until the middle of February. When he did return, he played probably his best stretch of hockey on the season. His first game back against the Wild was a memorable one, as he threw a big hit on the first shift of the game, and added several others later in the night.

The return, however, was very short-lived. Manson lasted only six games before leaving the lineup with the same injury that kept him out previously. He returned in the playoffs, but clearly was not 100%. He struggled moving around on the ice, and took four penalties in five games. He left Game Five, and did not return again in the series. This week, GM Chris MacFarland announced that Manson had a procedure done, but should be ready for training camp in September.

Manson will turn 32 before next season begins, and with three years left on his contract, injuries will continue to be a concern. Since 2019, the most games he’s played in a season is 67. When healthy, he adds an element of physicality that the Avalanche need. He also has a bit more skill than you’d expect from a rugged defenseman. They’ll need him to stay healthy to take advantage of what he brings.

Season Grade: C-

This is a really tough one to grade, because injuries didn’t even give him an opportunity to recover from a slower start. In the playoffs, he never looked right, and probably should not have been playing. With how he plays, you have to expect penalties, but you can’t take them with the frequency that he did. With the potential for both Johnson’s to leave this summer, they will need him healthy and playing next year, because his physicality will be needed.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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