The Colorado Avalanche are rolling


John Mowle

The Colorado Avalanche are off to a rolling start for the 2022-2023 NHL season. With a 4-2-1 record, the Avalanche have been dominating their opponents with their high flying offense that led them to a Stanley Cup last season. 

This hot start has all been without their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, who likely won’t return until late January. This has led to players stepping it up like Valeri Nichushkin, who currently is tied for the league lead in points.

After being drafted 10th overall to Dallas in the 2013 NHL draft, Nichushkin was expected to be a star in the league. Val had a good rookie season putting up 14 goals and 20 assists in 79 games, but he was still projected to do a lot more.

In his next season, he ended up only playing 8 games before getting sent down to the minors, just recording one point in those games.

In his 3rd season he made the team but only scored 9 goals and 20 assists in 79 games, which was 5 less goals than his rookie season. Dallas did bring him back for his 4th season and in 57 games, did not score a goal and only had 10 assists.

They were not happy with this and bought out the last year of his contract making him a free agent. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic liked what he saw from him and decided to give Val a one year deal at $850k.

Nichushkin played well putting up 13 goals and 14 assists and earned himself a 2 year extension at 2.5M per year. Last year during the second year of his contract, he broke out and became a very good player scoring 25 goals and 27 assists in just 62 games.

This was finally a breakout season for him that would also definitely earn him a pay raise. But during the 2022 playoffs, Val took his game to another level scoring 9 goals and 6 assists in just 20 playoff games. He was arguably the Avalanches best forward during the playoffs.

His amazing season earned him a big contract extension with Avs for 8 years and 49 million dollars. Some fans called this an overpayment for just one year of really good production, but since he’s been with Colorado he hasn’t looked back and continues to get better every season. 


The Avalanche have also started the season so well because of how lethal their power play has been. Scoring 50% of the time while on the man advantage so far this season, this looks like one of the most talented power plays we have ever seen.

The power play consists of player like Cale Makar, who won the defenseman of the year, playoff MVP, and scored 30 goals last season. They also have superstars like Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Valeri Nichushkin. On their 2nd power play unit they are running 3 defensemen, which has never been seen before.

Usually a power play has only one defenseman, but the Avalanche use 3 simply because of how offensively gifted they are. Last season the Colorado Defense had 238 points, which was far more than any other team.


Another reason for the hot start is their goaltending. Last season, Colorado’s goaltending was good but not outstanding. The Avalanche could not afford to keep their goalie, Darcy Kuemper, so Sakic went out and acquired New York Rangers backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.

He was a good goalie but never got a chance to start because he was behind Igor Shesterkin, who won goalie of the year last season. This move has looked amazing so far as to start the season he is 4-0-1 with a .921 save percentage. And when he played his former team in New York on Tuesday, he stopped 44 of 46 shots from an elite New York offense.


Currently the Avalanche sit heavy favorites to win the cup again at +380 odds on Draftkings. Going back to back is one of the most difficult things to do as it has only happened 3 times in the past 4 decades, but the Avalanche are trying to become the 4th team.