Let’s get one thing straight here Avs fans, I’m as frustrated with Wojtek Wolski’s inconsistent performances over the past few seasons as all of you are, but the comparisons to former Avs players need to stop. I have heard one too many things lately and just wanted to throw some facts, thoughts, and comparisons at all of you to see if they may change your mind just a little bit.
The main thing that inspired this post was a recent conversation on my buddy James “Tapeleg” Gralian’s, Rink Podcast. Every once in a while he has guests from Twitter that call in and they record a special podcast called a “Tweetcast.” He recently had an Avs representative, James from Denver, who goes by the username of BleedBurgundy on Twitter. The link to the Tweetcast podcast is here in case you want to give it a listen. In the show, James compared Wojtek Wolski’s lack of production to the Avalanche career of Alex Tanguay. So much talent and it just seems like they don’t do as much as they can on a consistent basis for the team. All I hear is that they could have been/can be so much better if they just played with a little more passion. I felt the same way about both of them until I looked at the numbers. The stats rarely lie.
What many Avs fans fail to realize about Alex Tanguay is that he’s the fourth leading scorer in Avalanche history with a nice round 400 points. Adam Deadmarsh is next on the all-time scoring list with 129 points less than Tanguay with 271. Tanguay trails two future Hall of Famers (Sakic and Forsberg) and Avs long-time stud Milan Hejduk and that’s it. Could Tanguay have been better overall? I’d say yes. Did he play on some amazing teams with all kinds of talent around him? Absolutely. Has Tanguay been far from great ever since the talent around him has been nowhere near what it was when he was with our Avs? Yes. Did he get the job done though when he wore an Avalanche sweater? I’d have to say, based on the numbers, a pretty strong yes to that as well. Those Avs names are serious company and pretty much anyone would look like they’re not that great in comparison to some of the players Tanguay played with here in Denver.
We can also compare Tanguay’s numbers to another Avs fan favorite, Chris Drury. By comparison, Drury scored a little over half the points with the Avs than Tanguay did (222). Sure Drury scored some huge playoff goals and has been appropriately labeled “clutch” for those performances, but when we look at the postseason numbers they both have the same exact amount of Avs playoff points with 50. Do Wolski and Tanguay really compare? I actually hope they do someday. That would be really nice.
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about a new reality Avs fan need to get used to. Just because Wojtek Wolski shows promise as a young talented offensive player does not mean that he is going to put up Sakic-like, Forsberg-esque, or even Tanguay-like numbers any time soon or even ever. That’s what we’ve been used to and spoiled by in the past as Avs fans and it’s definitely time to adjust that perspective a little bit. It’s time to look at the whole situation in a realistic way, Wojtek Wolski’s just not that good (and I even hesitate to throw a “yet” in here.) Believe me though, I want Wolski to be one of the guys that leads the Avs back to the promise land and I’m definitely rooting for him to do so.
On the other hand, we can look at the bright and youthful side of the Avs organization. Here are the ages of some of the Avs on the current roster:
Wolski: 23 Paul Stastny: 23 Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly: 18 T.J. Galiardi: 21 Cody McLeod and David Jones: 25 Chris Stewart: 22 Kyle Quincey: 24 Kyle Cumiskey: 23
Based on the team’s performance this season so far and the ages of the players listed above, the thing we have on our side as Avs fans is time. Let’s be patient with this team (and with Wolski and Stastny especially as they’re only 23) and see where time takes us.
So…sit back, relax, and look down the road. Looking back, appreciating, and even comparing to the past isn’t necessarily a bad thing, let’s just do our best though to keep everything in perspective. Things are looking good, it’s just going to take some time, and we have plenty of that on our side.