Dec 17, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) and center Matt Duchene (9) and center Nathan MacKinnon (29) and defenseman Erik Johnson (6) celebrate Duchenes goal against Dallas Stars goalie Dan Ellis (not pictured) during the first period at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting The Line Pairings For The 2014-15' Colorado Avalanche

Is it October yet? That’s the phrase most of us Avalanche fans have been saying since the Colorado Avalanche lost in the first-round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Minnesota Wild. Colorado would have a busy free-agency, picking up Jarome Iginla (Bruins), Brad Stuart (Sharks), Daniel Briere (Canadiens), and Jesse Winchester (Panthers). However, they did lose a key part of their team last year in Paul Stastny to the Blues but Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic revamped the roster with veteran talent and leadership.

Now we take a look at the projected lines.

Line 1:

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MacKinnon – Jarome Iginla.

Landeskog and MacKinnon were paired together for most of the regular season alongside Stastny who is now gone. Now, MacKinnon moves to his primary position while Colorado adds a proven veteran scorer in Iginla with two young talented players. Iginla also said he would be more than “thrilled” to be paired with Landeskog and MacKinnon in an article in The Denver Post.

Line 2:

Ryan O’ReillyMatt DucheneAlex Tanguay.

O’Reilly and Duchene like Landeskog and MacKinnon, were paired with most of the 2013-14′ season. Alex Tanguay will return to the Avalanche lineup as the 34-year-old winger played in just 16 games last season after hip and knee injuries last season. It’s kind of unusual to have three lefties on one line but the talent and skill is there to be a deadly one, two punch with the first-line.

Line 3: 

Jamie McGinnJohn Mitchell – Daniel Briere.

Here’s another all-lefty line consisting of the new addition from the Montreal Canadiens, Danny Briere. Briere will add toughness and smarts to a line with McGinn and Mitchell who can put points up on the board. McGinn signed a two-year extension this offseason after tallying 19 goals and 19 assists (38 points) in 79 games. Mitchell returns after suffering a concussion which forced him to miss the first-round against Minnesota.

Line 4:

Cody McLeodMarc-andre Cliche/Jesse Winchester – Max Talbot.

This one’s a tough one as I firmly believe Winchester will get the nod over Cliche but Cliche was one solid player on the penalty-kill last season. Talbot will slide down to the fourth-line while he will be paired with enforcer Cody McLeod. This leaves Patrick Bordeleau off the list as well as Joey Hishon.

Defensive Pair 1:

Jan HejdaErik Johnson

Defensive Pair 2:

Brad StuartTyson Barrie

Defensive Pair 3:

Ryan Wilson/Nate GueninNick Holden

Goaltenders:

Semyon VarlamovReto Berra

Conclusion:

I like what I see in the lines but Colorado could flip-flop Iginla and Tanguay to give the second-line a right-handed shot. Time will tell but until then, your guess is as good as mine. It was also nice to see Colorado upgrade the defense with the signing of Brad Stuart who will be a player to watch this upcoming season — but will it be enough?

Tags: Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog Jarome Iginla Matt Duchene Nathan MacKinnon Ryan O'reilly Tyson Barrie

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