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The 3 Most Disappointing Avalanche Players of 2022-23 So Far

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To say that the Colorado Avalanche‘s season has not gone to plan is an understatement. The defending Stanley Cup champions own a middling record of 22-17-3 at the halfway point of the season, and currently sit outside of the Western Conference playoff picture by both total points and points percentage (PTS%). There’s still plenty of time for them to change course, but they’ve seen their status around the league tumble as a result.

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Of course, the impact of their bloated injury list cannot be ignored when discussing the season to date. According to NHL Injury Viz, the Avalanche have accumulated the fourth-highest Cap Hit of Injured Players (CHIP), the combined total of the per-game cap hit of any player absent due to injury or illness.

Among others, the extended absences of Gabriel Landeskog (42 games missed), Bowen Byram (32), Valeri Nichushkin (26), and Josh Manson (21) have pushed depth pieces into starring roles. Some have stepped up while others have faltered, and it’s players from the latter group who are the focus here.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the three players who have been the most underwhelming relative to expectations this season.

Alex Newhook, Forward

Even if you believe in his long-term potential, there is no argument that anyone other than sophomore forward Alex Newhook has been the Avalanche’s most disappointing player this season. After the offseason departures of Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovksy, the prevailing thought was that Newhook could function as a cheaper, younger alternative now and in the future.

In particular, his positional flexibility would be key in assuming the mantle of the Avalanche’s second-line center position. Instead, his development appears to have temporarily stagnated, although that’s not out of the ordinary for such a young player.

Alex Newhook Colorado Avalanche
Alex Newhook, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Due to the aforementioned absences, Newhook has seen his 5-on-5 and powerplay usage increase by about a minute per game. His offensive production is in line with last season’s output of 13 goals and 33 points, as the 21-year-old is on pace for an 18-goal, 31-point campaign. Accounting for the slight increase in ice time, however, Newhook’s scoring rates have dropped considerably at 5-on-5.

Statistic 2021-22 2022-23
Goals 0.71 0.67
Primary Assists 0.64 0.56
Assists 1.21 0.78
Points 1.92 2.45
Newhook’s underlying per-60-minute metrics at 5-on-5, courtesy of…

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