Last season – 9th in the Western Conference
GM – Joe Sakic
Sakic has had a challenging off-season after Patrick Roy abruptly quit in the beginning of August. This forced him to go into the market for a new coach, eventually landing on Jared Bednar from Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate. Sakic has done well enough to keep the team together, but there are definite questions about the depth.
Head Coach – Jared Bednar
Bednar comes into a club which did not have its greatest season last year. He was well thought-off in Columbus, given a two-year extension as recently as this summer, but is unproven on the highest level. Then again, Patrick Roy the coach was unproven on the highest level, and he did good in his first year behind the bench.
Fedor Tyutin (D), Joe Colborne (C), Patrick Wiercioch (D), Rene Bourque (LW), Gabriel Bourque (LW), Ben Smith (RW), Rocco Grimaldi (LW),
4th round pick 2017
Nick Holden (D), Reto Berra (G)
Sakic most important offseason moves were re-signing MacKinnon and Grigorenko. They also re-signed Tyson Barrie, but there is still rumors about trading him, so the question is if that re-signing was for improving his trade value. Outside that, the Avalanche has added more experience to the roster. Nothing stellar, just players who has been in the league for a while and know what it takes, but be clear, this are depth players, possibly complimentary players at best. Which is what the Avs needed.
Goaltending – 8/10
Varlamov is a very good goaltender, the only issue here is the fact that his back-up is gone. Berra was a safer card than Pickard. Still, provided Varlamov plays to his usual standard this area of the team is not an issue for the Avs.
Defense – 8/10
Two solid pairings, nothing you can complain about. Yet, not something that sets the world alight either. It’s going to be interesting what they will trade Barrie for, if they do end up trading Barrie. That being said, Colorado has a solid group of defensive players and should be allright.
Beauchemin – E. Johnson
Zadorov – Barrie
Gelinas – Tyutin
Forwards – 8/10
The first line is great. Youth, power and skills. It has all the tools neccessary. It’s a shame that they are putting a center out on the wing in MacKinnon, but if not you’d be putting Soderberg on the third line as a center. That would not work well either. Iginla keeps playing, and while not the same quality as Jagr has managed to maintain is still able to deliver NHL-caliber play. However, it is a sign of weakness for the Avs that he’s still on their second line. They should be doing better.
The third and fourth line are decent lines, but nothing much to write home about. As a Norwegian, I’m happy to see Martinsen on the fourth line, but he will not have the same leash he had last year. Roy loved that type of player that Martinsen is, but with Bednar he will probably have to start producing ok numbers for a fourth-line player in today’s NHL.
Landeskog – Duchene – MacKinnon
Comeau – Soderberg – Iginla
Colborne – Grigorenko – Rantanen
Martinsen – J. Mitchell – McLeod
Colborne – Bourque
Team Composition – 7/10
It’s an ok team, but needs quite a few pieces to be a really good team. Still, it has the potential to go on a streak and could go into the play-offs. Considering they did it in Roy’s first year it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that they achieve the same this year.
Leadership presence – 8/10
They have a decent leadership, with players like Landeskog and Johnson, not to mention Iginla. Yet, it is not spectacular. It’s pretty much the same as the rest of the ratings given.
Skill Value – 8/10
They have some highly skilled players in Landeskog, Duchene MacKinnon and to a certain extent Eric Johnson. However, that’s about it. Soderbeg is a good player, but he is not great. He’s not going to turn around their season, but he will produce here and there. This team is totally reliant on all of their first line producing regularly to be in any sort of contention at the end of the year.