Greg Sherman (GM), Joe Sacco (Head Coach)
82GP 43W 30L 9OTL 95PTS
2nd Northwest, 8th West, 12th NHL
Paul Stastny – 81GP 20G 59A 79P
Adam Foote (C), Paul Stastny (A), Milan Hejduk (A)
Brett Clark (Signed with Tampa Bay)
Chris Durno (Signed with Tampa Bay)
Ruslan Salei (Signed with Detroit)
Daniel Winnik (Acquired from Phoenix)
The Colorado Avalanche are the youngest team in the league (26.160 average age), and are using the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It should work out well for them this season with their youth getting an extra year of experience under their belt. Their only significant loss over the summer was defenceman Brett Clark, who scored 20 points with a +6 rating last season.
The team will have a strong core, and with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly one year older, they should put up similar, if not better, numbers compared to last season. The real question mark for this club is whether or not Craig Anderson can maintain his stellar play from the post-season. He has been a consistent goaltender over the last four years, averaging an impressive save percentage of 0.926 in that time. With the strength of his goaltending this year, the Avalanche are sure to be a strong competitor in the West.
It all comes down to goal scoring. Chris Stewart led the club with 28 goals last season, while rookie Matt Duchene chimed in with 24, veteran Milan Hejduk netted 23 in an injury-filled season that saw him appear in just 56 games, and assistant captain Paul Stastny found the back of the net 20 times. This team will require Peter Mueller to regain his rookie form and reach the 20 goal plateau.
There needs to be consistent secondary scoring on the club. The youngsters will be receiving significant minutes this season and if they are unable to produce, the club will flounder. The club can rely upon its consistency on defence, which should allow the forwards to gain more confidence in their break-out system. If they are unable to improve on last year’s totals, the team will struggle to make the post-season. If the rookies come through and a few breakout candidates emerge, the team will be a force in their respected conference.
2nd Northwest, 6th West
AVALANCHE DEPTH CHART
Peter Mueller – Paul Stastny – Milan Hejduk
T.J. Galiardi – Matt Duchene – Chris Stewart
Cody McLeod – Ryan O’Reilly – Brandon Yip
Daniel Winnik – Philippe Dupuis – David Jones
David Koci – Ben Walter – Kevin Porter
David Van der Gulik
Kyle Cumiskey – Scott Hannan
Kyle Quincey – Adam Foote
John-Michael Liles – Ryan Wilson
For more articles by Micheal Aldred, visit http://www.thecheckingline.com