If something doesn’t change soon, the Colorado Avalanche could be out of the playoff conversation by the time the NHL Trade Deadline rolls around in two weeks. The team is on a seven-game win-less streak and have only won three of their past 20 games dating back to before Christmas. The Avs are currently in tenth in the Western Conference, four points back of the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card spot. The team that looked early on like a safe bet to earn a Central Division slot is now in real danger of missing the postseason completely.
With this struggle also comes an increased risk of being a buyer at the deadline. While the young Avalanche were not expected to be a heavy presence on the market regardless, they may be scared away from moving trade capital at all with their postseason hopes in a downward spiral. As such, if Colorado wants to improve their play and try to get back into playoff position, that help will likely have to come internally. The first move in that direction may have come today, as the Avalanche have announced the recall of young forward Tyson Jost from the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.
Jost, 20, was the tenth overall pick in 2016 by the Avs after scoring more than 100 points for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees the season prior. He was then a point-per-game player in his first and only season with the University of North Dakota. However, Jost has been unable to find that kind of production and consistency in the NHL. Last season, Jost recorded 22 points in 65 games for the Avalanche, which was not terrible for a rookie, but was underwhelming considering the ice time and situations Jost found himself with. The young center then landed in the AHL last month after registering just six goals and 15 points in his first 43 games.
Rather than let the demotion affect his play, Jost has put together four goals and an assist through eight games with the Eagles and has even fought back from an injury earlier this month that was expected to keep him out an “extended period”. All signs point to Jost being determined to get back to the NHL and be a difference-maker, which is exactly what the Avs need. Colorado is still a top ten team in goals per game, but drastically needs improved secondary scoring behind their dominant top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. If Jost can be the spark that gets some offense going in the bottom-nine, that could be enough to get the Avalanche back to their winning ways. The team’s next five games are against current playoff teams, so we’ll soon see whether the talented young forward can be an x-factor for Colorado down the stretch.