You’d be forgiven if you had forgotten about the Colorado Avalanche‘s Matt Calvert. The former fifth-round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets has largely been bottom-six and penalty kill option since joining Colorado before the 2018-19 season. However, the 30-year-old has found a new gear this season and is a significant part of Colorado’s success in 2019-20.
A Career Year for Matt Calvert
Calvert wasn’t expected to do much this season but he was given a golden opportunity early on. Both Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen missed time due to injury and that meant two spots opened up on the top line. Calvert responded in a big way when he was moved to the top line next to Nathan MacKinnon. He has 12 goals and 24 points in 42 games. His career-high is 26 points, so he is very close to that mark with almost half the season left. Much of that came when skating next to Colorado’s best player but Calvert has been great on his own. His biggest improvement has come in puck possession stats. He held a poor 47.9 percent in his last season with Columbus but is up to a strong 53.1 in 2019-20.
Calvert’s production has come at the perfect time as the Avalanche needed more secondary scoring to complement its stars. Calvert has provided that along with the team’s other off-season acquisitions but there is more room for improvement. He could stand to be slightly more physical as some of Colorado’s other checking forwards are doing slightly less of it this season. The team’s checking and blocking have failed in some big moments and cost games earlier this year.
What to Expect Moving Forward
Calvert’s production is hugely dependent on two things. First, they will have to find a regular spot for Joonas Donskoi when he returns from a concussion. Second, Colorado has plenty of cap space for a significant trade acquisition. They could use more of him but it is more likely his role will diminish in the next several weeks. However, he is still a vital part of the Avs’ bottoms-six and will be a factor on the penalty kill through the rest of the season.