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Avs Weekly Mailbag: Strange times ahead, Byram, Jost, and more

Evan Rawal Avatar
March 16, 2020

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.

I doubt it comes down to something like this, but if it did, I am pretty sure the Avs organization would not hesitate to pick Compher. Bednar, in particular, trusts him a ton, seeing as he was the guy whose ice time kept going up with each injury (he played nearly 26 minutes in the game against New York). He’s also proven to be pretty versatile for the coach to play in different spots, and they didn’t hesitate at all giving him a long term deal last summer.

As for me, I would probably lean towards Compher. I really think it’s pretty close, and what separates the numbers between the two is that Compher gets a lot more ice time than Jost, so his numbers are just naturally better. But that’s the thing…he has a history of more production. Jost was starting to show something before the entire league shut down, but the actual production just was not their consistently to have any sort of idea what you are going to get on a consistent basis.

I do wonder how different this answer would be if the NHL wasn’t shut down and Jost continued to play like he had been. It still would have been a relatively small sample size, but he was trending up in a big way.

I think if things had kept going the way they were, he would have stayed in the lineup over Nieto, in my opinion. Nieto is a pending unrestricted free agent, so the Avs aren’t committed to him past this summer. While Jost himself may not be here long term, the upside for greater production is there from him, and he was starting to show himself to be pretty capable on the penalty kill, the one area where Nieto had a clear advantage on him. With that advantage going away, I think they would have gone with Jost.

But let’s be real…with the way things were going, were the Avs ever really going to get healthy? I doubt it.

https://twitter.com/McNicholsports/status/1239427957719994370?s=20

I hope not. What Makar (and Quinn Hughes) did this season just doesn’t happen very often for rookie defensemen. Makar has always been hyped as more of a dynamic offensive defenseman, whereas I think most people look at Byram as a 200-foot player who can do a little bit of everything. His offense took a step back early this year, but really was coming on in a big way before the coronavirus took over.

The biggest difference between the two of them, and I hope fans keep this in mind when they look at production, is that Makar was able to walk onto an extremely talented top power play unit from day one. That’s rare for a rookie. With Makar in his way, Byram just won’t be able to do that, so naturally his production won’t be the same. Byram will also be a teenager when he inevitably makes his NHL debut, so I think expectations, in general, will be a little different.

Either way, the Avs are in a good place with Makar, Byram and Sam Girard on the blue line, and teams around the league have got to be a little jealous.

I sure hope so! I’ve tried to keep my expectations realistic. These are guys in their mid-50’s who aren’t as angry or even motivated as they once were, and that’s just the reality of it all, but I have yet to read a negative review of the album itself. I’ve enjoyed both singles so far (“Dance of the Clairvoyants” is their best song in 15 years at least) and the production behind them is fantastic, so my expectations keep rising. With everything being postponed or canceled altogether, this album is the only keeping me going right now, so I really hope it comes through. So far, so good!

Next year’s opening night roster?

I’ll go with…

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen

Burakovsky – Kadri – Donskoi

Nichushkin – Compher – Kaut

Calvert – Bellemare – Jost

Bowers in the AHL. Nieto, Namestnikov and Wilson leave to free agency. Kamenev gone via trade. Namestnikov sure looked good in his short stint, but he’ll be expensive as a bottom-six guy. I’m not sure the Avs can pay that price.

On defense, I think it looks like…

Girard – Makar

Byram – Johnson

Graves – Cole

The seventh defenseman could be anyone, but I don’t think Zadorov is around next season. The other guys, not huge losses, but Z will be the big guy out on the blueline and Byram will take his spot.

In net, it’s fairly simple. It’s Frankie and Grubi, and Hutchinson feels like nothing more than a short term pickup that they apparently only needed for one game.

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