Assuming that Avs general manager Greg Sherman can sign Jamie McGinn—who will go to arbitration—and Ryan O’Reilly to new deals, here are what Colorado’s top two lines could look like, according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.
1st Line: Gabriel Landeskog-Ryan O’Reilly-Steve Downie
2nd Line: Jamie McGinn-Matt Duchene-P.A. Parenteau
Chambers does note that the projected third line of David Jones, Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk could also be the second line, but let’s use the original one for the purpose of this article.
Just by adding up the point totals from last season—noting that Downie and McGinn only played half a season with Colorado and Parenteau played the entire year with the New York Islanders—the first line tallied 16 more points than the second line.
The first line should be even better than it was last season. Landeskog—last season’s Calder Trophy winner—will gain more experience whereas O’Reilly and Downie would, hypothetically, learn more about playing with each other.
The first-line trio is capable of combining for over 150 points next season easily.
The second line, however, should be even better than the first line. McGinn only played in 17 games with the Avs last season and averaged nearly a point per game. Matt Duchene had just 28 points in 58 games and can hopefully improve from a lackluster year. Parenteau was incredible for the Islanders last season, scoring 18 times and racking up 49 assists.
Which line will produce more points next year?
What sets the second line apart from the first is how Duchene and Parenteau will mesh together. It should be a good fit considering Parenteau played with Islanders star John Tavares last season, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.
“They’ve got such a good, young group of forwards, and I’m happy to be a part of it now,” Parenteau told Dater. “I’m 29 now, and I want to win, and I feel like I have a lot of good hockey left in me. I feel like I’m just getting things started.”
Just by the sound of it, it seems like Colorado should be a good fit for Parenteau. That being said, the adjustment from Tavares to Duchene shouldn’t be a difficult one. Both are high-caliber players—taken just one draft pick apart in 2009—who Parenteau can find on the ice with ease. Not to eliminate McGinn from the picture, but look for a lot of Duchene goals where Parenteau picks up the assist.
The first line should be a good one, but the second line will be the one that has the higher point total as the Avs hopefully enter the playoffs next season.