The Colorado Avalanche are speeding headlong toward their October 4th season-opener. We need to catch up on the offseason and preview the upcoming.
From 1996 to 2004, The Colorado Avalanche were a premier franchise, not just in the NHL but in professional sports.
The Avs were the preferred destination for free agents like Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. General Manager Pierre Lacroix brought in stars at the deadline every year. Stars like Rob Blake, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy. It was, for a while, Camelot.
The team and it’s general feel have moved on from that era but they’ve also moved on from the uneven, up-and-down, coaching carousel that has defined them since the lockout. Colorado won 52 games in 2013, matching a franchise record, then they won 22 games in 2016, a historical low for the NHL. There were mitigating factors, drama from Head Coach Patrick Roy and star Matt Duchene created a toxic team for new coach Jared Bednar to work with.
To begin 2017, Sakic jettisoned the disgruntled Duchene, made some minor moves that paid major dividends and created an Avalanche team that approaches the spirit that fans expect.
All of that can be undone by a regression in 2018-19. Let’s take a look at the three on-ice aspects of the game and how we think the Avalanche will fare: