There aren’t many things that have gone right for the Colorado Avalanche this season. The team has battled injuries all season, as Steve Downie and Gabriel Landeskog are among the top players to miss time. Ryan O’Reilly’s holdout was a distraction, and while he had some great moments after returning he has not produced much in the past four games. The Avalanche have dropped their last four games, and are playing like a team with little hope of reaching the playoffs. With his team ranking near the bottom of the league in almost every statistical category, head coach Joe Sacco should be wondering how much longer his job is safe for.
In three previous seasons of coaching the Avs, Sacco has reached the playoffs once and has had two winning seasons. This year’s Colorado team is 10-14-4, which puts them fifth in the Northwest Division and at the moment, at the bottom of the Western Conference as well (and in the entire league only the Florida Panthers are in worse shape). Despite playing with line combinations the Avalanche are 21st in the league in goals per game. Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau have been the only consistent scoring threats this season, which makes it hard to beat anyone. The team’s numbers in goals against (27th), power play percentage (24th) and penalty kill percentage (23rd) are a further reflection of how poorly things have gone.
While not all on-ice problems are the coach’s fault, Sacco wouldn’t be the first bench boss to lose his job this season. The current head coach of the Avs’ AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, is Dean Chynoweth – a former pro defenseman who would be more than familiar with many of the team’s young prospects during the rebuilding process. Sacco led the Monsters before being promoted to the Avaanche in 2009. If he can’t get the team performing better, it could be his last year in Colorado.