It was a historic year for the Colorado Avalanche last season, but not in a good way. For the third consecutive year, the Avalanche missed the playoffs. They would lose 56 games and be outscored by 112 goals.
The Avs are in a full rebuild mode. While they were relatively quiet in the offseason, they drafted well, and the future is looking bright for the team, even if the future is not so bright for their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, who is the subject of trade rumors on a daily basis.
Colin Wilson – LW
A fourth round pick went to Nashville in favor of the talented winger. Wilson will team with Carl Soderberg and another new acquisition, Nail Yakupov, to form one of the most expensive, and potentially one of the most disappointing, third lines in hockey.
Wilson had his best year in 2014/15, where he put the biscuit in the basket 20 times and tacked on 22 helpers. He could see new life if the chemistry emerges between himself, Soderberg, and Yakupov. If not, he could be just another contract that keeps the Avs from hitting the salary floor.
Nail Yakupov – RW
Yakupov was a former high pick for the Edmonton Oilers. After his time north of the border went south, he joined the Blues. Flashes of brilliance in St. Louis emerged, but nothing that could keep him in a tough lineup. He moved to another Central Division team this season.
Yakupov signed a one-year $875,000 deal to join the Avs. His speed could be a major asset to Jared Bednar and the Avs coaching staff. He should get a full year this season, and with guys who are as talented as Soderberg and Wilson, he might get that career resurgence almost everyone is rooting for. However, it could go the other way too, and this could be Yakupov’s last NHL chance.
Jonathan Bernier – G
Bernier joined the Avs on a one-year $2.75 million deal. He should be the backup to Semyon Varlamov in goal. Bernier has the experience that could help his team, even from a backup role. He could spell Varlamov for extended periods of time and has a pedigree of a winner. He is a former Stanley Cup Champion (2012 with Los Angeles) and is coming from a perennial winner in Anaheim.
Bernier has also seen his time in the cellar as well. His time in Toronto was not great, and he handled the pressure of the Maple Leaf fan base with surprising grace. He should be able to be an asset, both on and off the ice, to help turn around the Avs.
Mikhail Grigorenko – C
Grigorenko was a third-line center for the Avs. While he did attract some teams, he joined the KHL (CSKA Moscow) on a three-year deal. Grigorenko was a serviceable veteran for a squad that was rife with young talent. Ultimately, he was not tendered an offer and was an unrestricted free agent before signing in Russia.
Francois Beauchemin – D
Beauchemin was a victim of the expansion draft process. He was bought out so the Avs could protect a younger player. When Colorado decided to go another way, Beauchemin decided to sign a one-year $1 million deal with one of his former teams, the Anaheim Ducks.
Beauchemin was a good defenseman on a bad team last year. With the Avs deciding to go much younger on the blue line, Beauchemin was let go. He joins a stellar Ducks’ squad, where he will see reduced minutes, but a chance to grab Lord Stanley’s Trophy.
Moving on up
The Young Guns
The Avalanche could break camp with four rookies this season. J.T. Compher, A.J. Greer, Tyson Jost, and Anton Lindholm might all make their debut on October 5, 2017, in MSG against the New York Rangers. All four are homegrown talents and could be the collective spark that could get the Avs out of the cellar.
Andrew Agozzino – LW
Agozzino came from the Blues’ organization on a two-year deal. He is talented enough to make a strong case for being in Colorado opening night. However, with Landeskog, Blake Comeau, and Colin Wilson ahead of him, the Colorado Avalanche may elect to keep him in San Antonio (the AHL affiliate of the Avalanche) for a year.
The Colorado Avalanche could definitely surprise some. I do not believe they are capable of losing over 50 games again. However, they would have lost several more had it not been for the goaltending of the now departed Calvin Pickard. Colorado is “capable” of climbing out of the cellar and giving the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks a run for their money for twelfth in the Western Conference.
The preceding paragraph was an optimistic look at what the Colorado Avalanche could do. A realistic point of view will be that nothing will change. Colorado is a very young team. Growing pains will be evident this season. Compher, Jost, Greer, and Lindholm are not going to save this franchise immediately.
They will be competitive most nights, but will still finish in last place.
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Source : https://realsport101.com/news/sports/nhl/colorado-avalanche-season-preview-201718/