The Colorado Avalanche have embraced a new system, one that uses both physical play and smarts to keep the puck in the offensive zone, according to general manager Joe Sakic.
The Avalanche are currently the only NHL team with a “physical play” system that allows for puck possession in both ends of the ice.
The system uses speed and speed-control to slow opponents down and allows the team to get a good first shot.
Sakic said he was not looking for a “fancy new system,” but rather one that can be implemented and replicated across the league.
“It’s just really important to have a system that’s consistent and that you can trust,” Sakic said.
“The puck can get to the net and get to us.
It’s the same in every situation, so that’s what I’m looking for.
I’m not looking to change it.
I think we have a really good system.”
The Avalanche also adopted a new offensive zone forechecking system that combines a physical forecheck and a smart zone entry.
The forecheck is created by players coming up the ice and moving up the blue line with two forwards.
The zone entry is created with players moving up in the slot, making contact on the backchecker or passing the puck up the middle to the forwards.
Players in the zone entry and the zone forecheck are able to take away shots, and the result is a higher chance of goals.
Sakuic said the new system will be tested by the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“They’re a good team, but I think they’re probably a little bit different than the Philadelphia or the Chicago teams,” Sakics said.
“I think it’s a big step forward, but they’re a big-time team.
You have to take a look at those teams.
We’re trying to be aggressive, and that’s something we’ll be able to do here.”
Sakics said he hopes to continue to evolve the system throughout the year, with the goal of making it more effective.
“We have a lot of room to improve,” Sakik said.
“(The new system) is going to be a step forward this year.”
Sakuics said the team was able to develop its system in time for the season, and now it is time to see what happens.