Hot on the heels of the two previous editions of the Burgundy Debate club comes the latest discussion among the Burgundy Rainbow staff regarding the success–or lack thereof–certain players on the Avalanche roster may encounter throughout the course of the upcoming season. In this episode, @thevoiceofvlad and @seamill12 take on the curious case of Sven Andrighetto.
There weren’t many bright spots that escaped the black hole that was the 2016-2017 Colorado Avalanche hockey season, but one of them was Sven Andrighetto. Acquired at the 2017 trade deadline in exchange for Andreas Martinsen, Andrighetto brought two elements to the Avalanche locker room that appears to be all but extinguished: enthusiasm and consistency. The twenty-four year old right winger notched sixteen points (5G/11A/16PTS) in nineteen games for the Avalanche. Compared to the dearth of scoring that had plagued most of the roster last season, Andrighetto’s production was a welcome sight to not only fans but also to management, who rewarded him with a new two-year ($2.28 million AAV, per CapFriendly) contract.
Some people may worry that this contract was based on a small sample size–which may have some validity due to Andrighetto joining the team at such a late stage in the season–but I feel that Andrighetto has landed in a position similar to that of defenseman Nikita Zadorov in that both players have been given contracts centered around a limited amount of games played per season. Management extended both players with two-year contracts in a recognition of their play as well as a gesture of good faith that both will continue to make strides in their development. While two years older than Zadorov, Andrighetto is being given similar treatment and is entering the peak years of his career. The consistency he showed last season allowed him to set a career high in assists during his Avalanche debut. That consistency has been present throughout the preseason as well: Andrighetto tallied four points (2G/2A/4PTS) in the three preseason games he dressed in. While his preseason numbers may not count towards “official” stat lines, seeing Andrighetto continue demonstrating his consistent point production is a good sign that his output wasn’t simply due to a change of scenery. If he can be as consistent throughout a full season of play, there is little doubt that Andrighetto will be a vital cog in the Avalanche’s offense.
Andrighetto fits right in with management’s mantra of shifting the team into a younger and faster direction. While he most likely won’t have Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene as his center, he might find himself on a line with rookie Tyson Jost, and that may wind up being a very formidable duo if both players can feed off of each other. Add captain Gabriel Landeskog into that mix, and that line can become a combination that can create a nightmare for the opposition. Andrighetto may have more of a challenge to produce if he lands on the right side of Carl Soderberg, given the struggles that Soderberg experienced throughout last season. If he can bring that spark back to the beleaguered center, Andrighetto certainly will have proven his value simply by rescuing his teammate from the depths of the Mystery Spot™.
Now for the case against, Mr. SeaMill you have the floor
Sven Andrighetto looked like a good top 6 player for the 19 games he spent with the Avs after he was sent from Montreal to Colorado for Andreas Martinsen. He registered 16 points in that matter of time and had good chemistry with MacKinnon and Rantanen. They were a very bright spot at the end of an abysmal season. His Corsi for has always been solid. He has been consistently above a 50% CF for each year excluding his rookie season (only 12 games). This is a good thing, for sure. Avalanche have not always been on the right side of the Corsi fence for a very long time. However, Andrighetto has never had much success in the NHL. In only 83 games over 3 years with the Montreal Canadiens, he has only registered a measly 28 points. The 16 points in 19 games is a big outlier for the norm of Andrighetto and a whole .5 ppg difference. Andrighetto definitely has skill, there is no denying that, but he has shown that he just is not quite a top line player. He just seems more suited for a 3rd line scoring role.
As many of you know, Andrighetto was placed on waivers earlier in the 2016-2017 season. No teams picked him up and had no interest in him. This generally is not a common occurrence with someone playing on the top line RW spot with your two best players. There are countless players that look good in a small sample size and people hype them up like Avs fans are hyping up Andrighetto. Andrighetto also did not really fit in with any type of player in Montreal. He spent most of his time in the 2015-2016 season playing with Alex Galchenyuk in the top 6. That was his highest scoring season with only 17 points in 44 games whereas Galchenyuk had 56 that season. Andrighetto, despite playing with Galchenyuk, still could not put up points and was juggled to the AHL that season.
Andrighetto is definitely a good player for the Avalanche, but a top line winger may not be the best fit. This is likely a position in which he will not reach the expectations that were given to him because of his 19 game stint at the end of the 2016-2017 season. He seems to be more fitted for a 3rd line scoring role with other players of similar caliber. His two-way game is solid and should not be a liability, but not good enough against top end competition. His offensive awareness and IQ are good but are likely not quite where they need to be to stay on the top line with fast and explosive players like MacKinnon and Rantanen. He will likely get lost in the moment and fall behind not contributing much to the rest of his line like he consistently did in Montreal with Galchenyuk. My predictions for Andrighetto would be around 30 points ending on the 3rd line.
/ / / / / /
Thank you much, gentlemen. What say you, dear reader? Will Sven be able to stick in his current role as a skilled scoring winger or will he fade like he has in the past?