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Avs-Golden Knights player grades: Flat ugly

AJ Haefele Avatar
December 28, 2018

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Player grades for Colorado’s tilt against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Sven Andrighetto (C+) – There was some jump from him! He got swapped onto the second line and magic happened immediately and he failed to cash in as he so frequently does. This is the stuff that drives you crazy about him.

Tyson Barrie (D+) – One one shift tonight, Barrie turned the puck over with an ill-advised stretch pass, failed to adequately cover his guy defensively and watched Vegas get a golden (haha, get it?) scoring chance, then took a penalty. And when he got out of the box, he jumped offside to negate an odd-man rush for the Avs. What the hell.

Gabriel Bourque (C+) – Another game, another day with people wondering what he brings to the lineup. Of course, like is usually the case, Bourque was nowhere near their biggest problem. But what is he legitimately adding? I dunno. I give up. I might just start copying and pasting this every night.

Matt Calvert (C-) – I loved that he was flying around out there doing things, especially early. His aggressive forecheck on Fleury nearly secured a second goal immediately after Colorado had made it 1-0. That was kind of it for him for the rest of the night at even strength. He was damn solid on the PK, though.

Ian Cole (C+) – I really didn’t have any issues with Cole tonight. I thought he held his own defensively and helped mitigate some of Barrie’s misadventures. He struck me as a calming presence throughout. He was Colorado’s only D who I don’t remember one mind-boggling decision with the puck tonight. I’m sure one happened (it does for every D in every game) but I can’t recall one.

J.T. Compher (C+) – Sweet tap-in goal. Where the hell did you go at even strength?

Sheldon Dries (B-) – He gets after it, man. I love his hustle and despite being able to fit inside my pocket he goes hard at guys and gets after pucks. He is very much Jared Bednar’s kind of player. He even has a little offensive flair to him. I didn’t see the penalty he was called for. As in, I’m not sure it existed so I won’t ding his grade for it.

Samuel Girard (D+) – Not a fan of G’s game tonight. Not at all. His puck movement was poor, his decision-making was terrible, and he was one or two bailouts by EJ from creating some real big issues for the Avs. This was not a great one from him.

Ryan Graves (C+) – I liked his aggression shooting the puck. He didn’t hesitate to jump into the rush and get involved offensively and that’s usually one of the things that disappear immediately from a player making his NHL debut as he seeks to make zero mistakes. Graves didn’t have that problem, though, and was generally pretty good. He would have been responsible for leaving his man wide open in the third but Marchessault was just a step offside.

Philipp Grubauer (A-) – 40 saves is no joke. That second goal from Pirri was, however. Grubi has to get to that. Outside of that, he was downright excellent.

Erik Johnson (D) – The decision-making is baffling, the puck work is abysmal, and the defense itself isn’t at a high enough level to justify the rest of his issues. He’s just not playing good hockey right now. Other teams are feasting on him like they’re at the Golden Corral when he touches the ice. Nom nom, boys.

Tyson Jost (F) – After a total no-show in Arizona, this wasn’t the kind of performance that gets you any leash whatsoever on the second line.

Alexander Kerfoot (D) – As much as Jost was a non-factor, I thought Kerfoot was a total ghost himself until that one shift where Andrighetto couldn’t quite put it away.

Gabriel Landeskog (C) – I thought Landy looked like he was going to have a whale of a game early in the game but as that line failed to find the spark together, he drifted back to the pack and his impact shrank as the moment got larger.

Nathan MacKinnon (D) – I thought MacKinnon was just bad tonight. So many stops and starts with his shifts where it looked like he was going to take over and then he got passive and failed to execute whatever he was trying to do. A very frustrating game from him on the process side of things. Very frustrating.

Patrik Nemeth (C-) – He drew a pretty weird penalty that gave the Avs a chance but I thought his puck management was the real story of his game tonight. And that story was…slightly below average. Just not very good. Could’ve been much worse.

Matt Nieto (C) – Some bursts of speed but nothing meaningful. He chose not to try a home run stretch pass when Soderberg was behind the defense. I get why he didn’t but sometimes you’d love if this team was just a little more aggressive in those spots.

Mikko Rantanen (C+) – Rantanen was called for his 15th minor penalty of the year, tying him with Zadorov for the lead on the Avs and putting him in the top 15 of the NHL.

Carl Soderberg (C) – The only times I really noticed Soderberg were in moments where it really would have paid had he been right-handed instead of a lefty. That’s a funny thing to remember about a guy’s entire night. It was just such a quiet night for that line as a whole.

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