The future of the Avalanche defense is growing up before our eyes

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CREDIT: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

On the final night of 2017, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sam Girard brought to life the potential 2018 has long offered. As the calendar prepares to turn over, the Avalanche couldn't get away from the ghosts of 2017 quickly enough in their 6-1 domination of the New York Islanders in front of 17,461 fans at the Pepsi Center.

Colorado's immediate prize (and a player Nashville GM David Poile badly wanted to keep) in the Matt Duchene blockbuster back in November was the 19-year-old Girard, who was expected to bring an offensive flair to the blue line. The production has been slow to come but he's been surprisingly solid in the defensive end and has provided plenty of promise along a left side that looks suddenly stout with Nikita Zadorov also finding his stride lately.

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