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Evan Rawal

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The Avalanche did not target Pierre-Édouard Bellemare to come in and be an offensive juggernaut. They signed him to help the penalty kill, anchor the fourth line, and to bring leadership to the locker room. The offense was a nice bonus, though. The 35-year-old center from France was having his best season in the NHL before the league shut down,…...

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When the Avs traded for Andre Burakovsky in June of 2019, they were taking a bit of a gamble. The talented youngster was making good money coming off a season where he fell out of favor in Washington, and the Avs did give up some good value to get him, sending second and third round picks to acquire the then 24 year old winger.

Turns out, they knew what they were doing.

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Perhaps this is controversial, or perhaps it isn't, but let it be known: as of right now, Samuel Girard is the Avs #1 defenseman.

Still just 21 years old, Girard led the Avs in average time on ice at 21:19 a game, but where the staff trusted him more than any other player on the team is at even strength, where he averaged over a full minute more than the next closest player (Erik Johnson). While Jared Bednar and Nolan Pratt won't hesitate to put Girard on the ice with Cale Makar for offensive zone face-offs, they pretty consistently use him in defensive matchups against the other teams best players.

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There is no player on the Avs more frustrating to both fans and the coaching staff than Nikita Zadorov. Some nights, he looks like he can be a top-pairing defenseman capable of shutting down elite players in the NHL. Other nights, you wonder if the organization really doesn’t have six other defensemen they could be playing over him. The other…...

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Well, who saw this one coming? Picked up in a deadline day swap back in 2018, Ryan Graves was looked at purely as a depth defenseman who would hopefully regain some of that promise he had after putting up 30 points in the AHL as a 21-year-old. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire in Colorado, as he put…...

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When the Avs signed Valeri Nichushkin on August 19 in the dead of the summer, it was met with a lot of skepticism (myself included). Why did the Avs, as deep as they had been in years, decide to take a chance on a struggling player? Why would they block younger players already in the organization? Why was this reclamation…...

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Welcome to the weekly Avs mailbag, where we answer whatever Avs questions you have on your mind. If you have any questions for the mailbag, leave them for Evan Rawal on twitter or respond in the comments. https://twitter.com/Avalangelist/status/1239339192762511360?s=20 I doubt it comes down to something like this, but if it did, I am pretty sure the Avs organization would not hesitate…...

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Mark Barberio – C Barbs once again did not play much, but had a good chance in the first and broke up an icing late in the game. He even dropped back to defense to kill a penalty in the third. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B Bellemare playing in overtime is not something I ever anticipated seeing, but he even picked…...

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Mark Barberio – D Barberio played forward again in this one, and I’m not sure why. The Avs scratched two forwards to do it. He barely played, at five minutes, and that’s with MacKinnon missing the final half of the game. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B Bellemare grinded it out in this one. His goal was flukey as can be, but…...

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Mark Barberio – C Outside of two odd-man rushes allowed in the second period, the third pair was completely invisible, and extremely low event. Barberio was very quiet in this game, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B+ I really felt Bellemare had a strong game in this one, except for maybe the last minute…...

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Mark Barberio – C- I really didn’t mind Barberio for most of this game. I thought he played quite well, for the most part, but did think there was a big dip in his game in the third period. He and Donskoi got mixed up big time on the dagger goal by Vancouver, as there was no communication. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare…...

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The Captain is back. Well…maybe. “I still haven’t had a two-goal game all year,” Landeskog deadpanned to me after morning skate on Wednesday. While that may be true, the post-All-Star break Landeskog has started to look more and more like the captain Avs fans have come to know and love since he entered the NHL in 2011. Before the All-Star…...

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Mark Barberio – D+ Barbs and MacK both attacked the same guy on the Ducks’ second goal. I’m not sure Barbs did anything wrong, as that looked like his guy, but some miscommunication there. The third pair was ugly in this one. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – D I really don’t know why Bellemare fought. He’s not a fighter, and it clearly…...

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Welcome to the weekly Avs mailbag, where we answer whatever Avs questions you have on your mind. If you have any questions for the mailbag, leave them for Evan Rawal on twitter or respond in the comments.

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Mark Barberio – C+ I thought the third pair had a great first period and kind of slid down from there, but given how ugly this game was, it worked out. Barbs did a great job taking a hit to make a play on the game-winning goal. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – C+ Hit the post in the second period, and boy,…...

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Mark Barberio – B Playing his first game in over two months, Barberio snuck into the lineup…as a forward?!? He hasn’t looked great on defense this year, so it’s probably not a stretch to say this was his best appearance of the year. He was particularly good in the first period. He is extremely popular in the lineup and works…...

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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B The third line was pretty consistent in this one, generally not getting pinned in their own end. Against a high event team like Carolina, Bellemare was only on the ice for a team-low seven shot attempts against. He looked to be shaken up in the second period but ended the game fine. Andre Burakovsky – D…...

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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – C The PK had a good night, but unfortunately, Bellemare was in the box for one of them as he took a holding penalty late in the second. I didn’t like some of his decisions with the puck, including wiring a pass to an unsuspecting Namestnikov in the second, but he had some good chances in the…...

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It's difficult for a young player to come up in a stretch run and earn the trust of an NHL head coach.

How is Martin Kaut making it look so easy, then?

The 20 year old Czech native has only been up with the Avs for a week, but he's already earning ice time due to his hard work and intelligence on the ice.

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Welcome to the weekly Avs mailbag, where we answer whatever Avs questions you have on your mind. If you have any questions for the mailbag, leave them for Evan Rawal on twitter or respond in the comments.

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