The Colorado Avalanche have been one of the feel good stories of the NHL so far this season. They were predicted by many to have another sub-par year, but after 15 games, they lead the Western Conference with 22 points. Much of their success can be attributed to the man between the pipes, Craig Anderson.
Anderson, through the first 15 games, is 10-3-2 with a .936 save percentage and 2.11 goals against average. Those numbers are outstanding. In fact, if he keeps that pace up, Anderson will set new career highs in all categories.
If you look at Anderson’s numbers this season, you will notice that he has started all 15 games and collected over 900 minutes of playing time. In his career, Anderson has never played more than 31 games in a single season. Similarly, he has never played more than 1636 minutes in a season.
In 2009-10, Craig Anderson is on pace to completely obliterate his career highs in games played and minutes. To me, this is a recipe for disaster. Even the best players in the league get fatigued from playing too many games. Sooner or later, the big man in Colorado will get tired. His numbers will begin to decline and wins will certainly be less frequent for the Avs.
I’m not saying that Colorado is going to finish in last place, or be quite as bad as the Maple Leafs. They are playing some great hockey as a team right now, not just the goalie. But unless the coaching staff starts giving their number one netminder a few nights off, the Avalanche could lose some key points from the middle to the end of the season.