In this wacky and disruptive 2021-22 season there’s a unique opportunity to do a side by side comparison of where the Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Eagles stand as each have played exactly 27 games on the season. Maybe not a lot of meaningful comparisons can be drawn between the two teams at different levels of pro hockey but interesting nonetheless.
Normally the AHL club would lag significantly behind with a 68 game schedule but the Eagles have somehow escaped postponement despite nearly their entire roster taking a turn on the COVID-19 protocol list. The Eagles have played five games, and are scheduled for a sixth, since the last time the Avalanche took the ice.
First, the basics. The Avalanche have a record of 17-8-2, good for 36 standings points and a .667 points percentage. They are 13th in the league by points but since they have no as many as six game in hand on teams ahead of them in the standings the Avalanche are actually tied for seventh by percentage.
The Eagles are 11-11-5 for exactly a .500 record and 27 total points. They are in the opposite boat of the Avalanche as the Eagles have played a lot more games than their peers. By points the Eagles are tied for 11th but percentage knocks them down to a tie for 19th place.
A comparison on scoring as the Avalanche have 115 goals for compared to 84 for the Eagles. The Avalanche have obviously been a scoring machine and still sit second in total goals despite lagging behind in games played. The Eagles are tied for sixth but of course helped by games played.
Scoring leaders for the Avalanche:
Kadri (11G, 27A, 38P), Rantanen (14G, 16A, 30P), Landeskog (9G, 18A, 27P), Makar (13G, 13A, 26P), MacKinnon (3G, 21A, 24P).
And for the Eagles:
Sikura (8G, 13A, 21P), Sherwood (9G, 10A, 19P), Gross (6G, 12A, 18P), Maltsev (5G, 12A, 17P), Burke (7G, 9A, 16P).
Although anything would pale in comparison to the high octane offense the Avalanche possess this should also underscore the low scoring nature of the AHL in general and the difficulty to produce big or even modest point totals.
Both teams have given up their fare share of goals. The Eagles with 87 which is 28th in the league and the Avalanche have actually given up more with 91. In the NHL that puts the Avalanche at 19th but goals against per game is 27th.
Justus Annunen has been in net for the vast majority of the Eagles’ games at just over 1100 minutes, holds a 7-6-4 record with a .899 save percentage and 2.83 GAA. Conversely Darcy Kuemper has seen 1083 minutes, has achieved a 13-5-0 record, with a .907 save percentage and 2.77 GAA.
This is the area where both teams clearly need improving when the calendar flips to 2022. The Avalanche are getting by with a ninth ranked power play at 23.4% success rate with 25 goals for but they should not feel satisfied when their talent level could produce so much more. On the other hand there’s not much to feel good about with a 28th place penalty kill at 75.4% but have only given up 20 goals. The six shorthanded goals the unit has scored is a positive but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Avalanche are getting undermined by special teams play.
Up in Loveland a once hot power play is down to 19th place with 23 goals for. The Eagles have a 17.6% conversion rate and are currently in a 3-for-24 slump. Unfortunately the penalty kill isn’t much better at 78.6% for a league rank of 26th and 23 goals against. So, clearly some work to do.