Feburary 4, 2022 | SPORTS | By Quinn Guevara | Photo by Anil Jergens
The Colorado Avalanche continue to be a force in the NHL, currently placing second overall in the league and first in the Central Division. Despite losing goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer, a finalist for last year‘s Vezina Award (given to the league’s best goalkeeper), to free-agency during the offseason, Colorado has still been able to keep pucks out of the net. From the back line to the forwards, the roster is full of talent.
Given the ability of this roster, it is no surprise that the Avalanche had multiple players selected as All-Stars this season. Three players were selected to represent the Avs: forward Nathan MacKinnon, forward Nazem Kadri, and budding superstar defenseman Cale Makar.
Despite being one of the league’s best players, MacKinnon will not be able to play in the All-Star game this year because he is still recovering from a broken nose and concussion sustained during an overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 26.
“The guys said he was in good spirits. He’s feeling a little bit better,” Head Coach Jared Bednar told the Denver Post a few days after the game. “Hopefully he continues to make the progress that he needs to get back in our lineup.”
Kadri is having a breakout season, leading the team in points (goals plus assists) with 59 on the year so far. Moreover, he has stepped up to lead the team on multiple occasions when MacKinnon was not healthy enough to suit up. His trip to the All-Star game this year in Las Vegas will be the first of his career.
Last, but certainly not least, the most electrifying player on the Avalanche is Cale Makar. Makar, like Kadri, will be going to his first All-Star game of his career. Makar is taking the league by storm. He is currently leading all NHL defensemen in goals (18) and is third in points, the sum of goals and assists, by a defenseman (44). Midway through the season, Makar is currently the favorite to win the Norris Trophy, given every year to the NHL’s best defensive player, barely beating out Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, who won the award last year, and Victor Hedman from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Makar is must-watch TV, constantly making highlight reel plays look effortless, all while playing roughly 25 minutes per game.
The Colorado Avalanche, like most teams across the NHL, have a lot of talent that is staying home during the All-Star break. However, due to the NHL’s current rules mandating every team to send at least one player, some Avs players may have earned the right to participate in the game but are still not able to. Regardless of this frustration, most players will take time during the break to rest, regroup, and gear up for a final push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche could be a force after the All-Star break. Be sure to look out for Kadri and Makar during the All-Star game.