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Most underrated player on the Colorado Avalanche?

May 30, 2020, 1:04 PM ET [1 Comments]
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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our choices for most underrated player on the Colorado Avalanche.

Todd Cordell

Valeri Nichushkin.

Last summer he was bought out by the Dallas Stars. There clearly weren’t many teams that thought much of Nichushkin, as evidenced by the fact he had to settle for a one-year, $850K contract in Colorado. He’d no doubt have more suitors now – 27 points in 65 games will drive more interest than 10 points (zero goals) in 57 games – but I still don’t think most realize how valuable Nichushkin is.

Colorado has been utterly dominant with Nichushkin on the ice at 5v5. I’m talking 56% of the shots (1st on the team), ~59% of the expected goals (1st), and ~72% of the goals (1st). They’re a ridiculous plus-25 with Nichushkin despite the fact he’s started a lower percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone than every forward on the roster outside of Matt Calvert.

He has produced 5v5 points at an identical clip to Sam Reinhart and Jaden Schwartz, his defensive metrics are elite across the board, and most probably wouldn’t consider him a top-10 player on the Avalanche. Yeah, I’d say he is underrated.

Sean Maloughney

I'm going to have to say Joonas Donskoi had an underrated first season with the Colorado Avalanche. In only 65 games, Donskoi broke his previous career high in goals (14) scoring 16, with 12 of them being at even strength. His 4 power play goals put him tied for fourth on the team, despite being sixth in forwards in PP ice time. Had the season continued, Donskoi could easily have broken the 20 goal marker.

At even strength Donskoi was on the ice for 42 goals for and only 28 against. A 60% GF% is fantastic for any top six forward. Donskoi also was credited with 386 scoring chances at evens, placing him third among all Avs forwards.

Donskoi was a smart signing by the Avs and the 27 year old did a phenomenal job of fitting into the Colorado lineup.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com

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