After being the PDO Darlings of 2014, the Colorado Avalanche have fallen on some harder times. Their roster lost a few key figures, and picked up...some less than flattering alternatives. A few were already there, with the team already, but have been given expanded roles lately. And it's sucked. They've sucked. And the Avalanche have sucked more for it, also. Some of the players were on the team prior but given expanded roles. Others, should have been given roles at all. Say, like, Reto Berra. But the three biggest culprits of sucktitude all have something wonderful in common with each other.
Cliche was a former Los Angeles Kings prospect that, in a rather surprising turn, was pretty much given up by the Kings and given away for nothing. The move wound up being a masterful stroke of stratagem by the Kings, as Cliche is a one man wrecking crew for a team's bottom six. In that he wrecked Colorado's bottom six all on his own. Cliche has one goal in nearly fifty games. Jordan Nolan and John Scott have more than that. In addition, Cliche only has three assists, shot at a highly impressive 2.3% rate, and owns 39.1 Corsi percentage which is good for worst amongst the Avalanche's forwards.
Most recently, Stuart was a member of the San Jose Sharks and was a beloved member of the team by all its fans. He was traded before the season started (crushing his aforementioned adoring fans), and given a new contract by Colorado. He is now the second highest paid defenseman on the Avalanche, is there for an additional two years, and has a no trade clause. Big Bad Brad also has the lowest possession numbers amongst Colorado's less than stellar defensive corps. At least he has two more years to figure things out.
Prior to joining the Avalanche, Guenin was on the Ducks, a team that uses roughly twenty six different defensemen a season. After fifteen games they found Guenin to be a whole bag of weasel anuses, and got rid of him. He was demoted to their minor league affiliate and never got a whiff of the NHL until Colorado decided to pay him to be terrible for them. The change of scenery did wonders for Guenin, who began a whole new reign of sub-par defensive work. His possession numbers are only one upped by Brad Stuart, though Nate gets fewer and easier minutes.
Bizarrely enough, Stuart and Guenin's play is actually on pace to get worse also. You have to really admire how the Ducks and Sharks worked together to completely sabotage another team's blue line. And once Daniel Briere is off the books in Colorado, I fully expect they will make a push to acquire Mike Richards to fill the void of horrendous contract for a forward. Well done, California. We broke the Avalanche. Nice assist to Calgary to help out in the goaltending department.
Oddly enough, this is also the Kings' first meeting with the Avalanche this year. Good thing I didn't talk shit on anyone on their team who will make me eat my words later.
Prediction: Kings lose 3-2. Goals for Colorado by Stuart, Guenin, and Cliche.