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One of the most consistent criticisms that I have had over the last two seasons has been the Avs unwillingness to address their depth, or lack thereof, at the left wing position. Part of what defined my belief that the left wing position was a bit weak for the Avalanche is that I think TJ Galiardi is better suited for the third line role. Many Avs fans feel differently, that he's really a top-6 forward. It may be time to re-evaluate my position.

Part of what prompted this re-evaluation is Jonathon Willis' recent post over at Leafs Nation . I the post Jonathon Willis concludes that a "1st line"  player is one who scores 50 points or more a season for a below average one, and an average 1st liner is a 60-point player. A "top-six"  player is one who scores 35 points a season. That the threshold for these two benchmarks are so low surprises me, but he has done the research and it seems solid. 50 points puts a player within the top 90 forwards, and 35 within the top 180.

Which brings us to TJ Galiardi. Now, he did break the 35-point barrier 2 years ago playing on the top line with Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart. That season may have been an anomoly, and last season is hard to evaluate because of the injuries. But lets try anyways, with PPG totals over those two seasons. Assuming a normally healthy player plays 75 games a season (with the occasional one lost due to flu, bumps, bruises, and day to day issues) a 35 point per game player would be a .47 PPG pace.

So the last two seasons here's TJ Galiardi's numbers. ('09-'10 - .56PPG, '10-11 .43PPG). By those numbers, he's straddeling the 2nd-3rd line threshold. (His Corsi numbers kind of bear this out. He was used a lot more in defensive situations in 09-10, in 10-11 he was used a lot more as a top-6 winger, starting in the offensive zone, and he held his own. )

He's probably, barely a 2nd liner right now, but he is only 23 this season, and will likely improve until he's 26 or 27. If he can replicate his performance of a few years ago (.56PPG) he's a solid, if unspectacular, second line player. If not he's a very solid 3rd liner. In fact he is a hybrid player, a guy who should get some offensive and defensive time. I'd like to see him on the third line, but move up to the second in appropriate situations. He can play either place.

What's clear is he's a bit better already that I was projecting him.

Now for David Jones. He scored 27 goals last season, but only 18 assists in 77 games. That put him at .58PPG. The previous three seasons are tough to evaluate, because he played less than half a season every time, but over those three seasons he averaged .39PPG, below the threshold of a true 2nd liner.

So which David Jones is the real David Jones?

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since his rookie and sophomore seasons are more likely lower than the level he's at now, but I'm not so sure expecting another 27 goals out of him is a realistic expectation. At 26 years old, a time when most players reach their peak in point production he may already have the best season of his career under his belt.  In both of the last 2 seasons he's held his own as a top-6 forward. When playing against top line competition he went negative, but when playing against 2nd/3rd line competition he went positive Corsi.)

In all honesty, David Jones is likely an average 2nd line player for 3-4 more years, and then his totals will drop off. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if his career mirrored that of new Av, Chuck Kobasew (with a less harsh drop-off than Kobasew had)