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Avalanche rolls over league- year in review


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  PRESEASON OUTLOOK The 'Lanche have been built into a fantastic team without a weakness anywhere. Many if not most picked them as among the elite in the West and on the short list of potential cup contenders.


FINAL RECORD 56-19-7 119 points Best record in the West, second best record in Hockey. Swept the Predators, Bested the Blues in six games. swept the Oilers in four straight and beat the Bolts 4 games to 2 to win their first cup in 21 years. 


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Storming over everyone, going 16-4 in the postseason against the best teams in the league to win the cup. 


Regular season, my God did they have the hot streak of all hot streaks from November 11th when they beat the Canucks 7-1 thru March first when tehy bested the Isles 5-3 they went 36-5-3. They beat you every way possible, they had 4 shutouts in that streak, 18 times they scored 5 goals or more. To put that in perspective, The Red Wings managed the feat only 12 times all year, the Avalanche 18 times in a half season long winning streak.


tHE OTHER HIGH POINT, imho was Kadri in the post game interview saying "To all those who say that I am a postseason liability, you can now kiss my @ss."


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR They actually started slow, After beating Chicago they lost 3 in a row and stumbled around early, after eing swept in a home and home against the Bluejackets (!) they were sitting at 4-5-1. From there they took off and never looked back.


WHAT WENT RIGHT  Makar won the Norris as the leagues best defender deservedly so then led all players in postseason scoring and won the Smythe. Rantanen led the team in scoring and wih 36 goals. MacKinnon missed time but had 88 points in 65 points which if he had played all 82 games he was on pace for 111 points. Landeskog was a beast until a late season injury. Kadri was the heart of the team and at one point was considered a potential Hart winner. Burakovsky and Nichishkin were fantastic secondary scorers. Devon Toews was an insane plus 52 and is to Makar what Seabrook at his best was to Duncan Keith. Compher and newhook provided scoring depth. Bowen Byram established himself as a real deal NHL defender with offensive upside. Lehkonen and Manson were perfect fits in deadline deals. Kuemper was nicked up but justified the first rounder given to Arizona for him. Francouz was brilliant as a backup. Erik Johnson was damn solid as a p/k guy and heart and soul player. Cogliano brought calm and selfless play to the fourth line.


WHAT WENT WRONG gIRARD HAD A MEH YEAR AT BEST AND WAShurt in the postseason. Ryan Murray, Jack Johnson and Darren Helm were offseason vets brought in and none did much. Nico Sturm was a midseason add who also did little. 


FREE AGENTS AND DRAFT PICKS Kadri is probably gone, someone will overpay and he will head to greener pastures. They hope to resign Manson, but they have an absolute ton of free agents, they built for this run and expect to pay the price for their success by losing key players Burakovsky and Nichushkin one may be back if they are lucky, Keumper is a free agent and will command big dollars. spear carriers, Helm, Cogliano, Jack Johnson, Murray, and Sturm are also UFA's while Lehkonen is a RFA who wants a long term deal.And to top it off MacKinnon is in the final year of a sweet heart deal and will be an UFA at the end of next year unless he gets paid 10 million plus to stay. These guys are due for a difficult offseason.


DRAFT PICKS they dont have a pick until the last pick of the third round, dont have a fourth so in short they have one pick in the first 160 choices. They also dont have a second next year or the year after.


TOP PROSPECTS Bowen and Newhook have graduated from prospect to established NHLers with upside, my favorite Avalanche prospect is goalie Justus Annunen who IMHO will have a real deal career. If Colorado hands the wheel to Francouz to save money to spend elsewhere, Annunen should be the backup and with Francouz injury history I could see a scenario where Annunen wins the Calder. I think he is that good. Martin Kaut will take one of the wing positions from a free agent they are gonna lose. Sampo Ranta is a real deal offensive forward, I see him repalcing Nichushkin with no let down. Jean Luc Foudy may stick as a playmaker on the third line. Drew Helleson will likely need a year in the AHL but might surprise and stick on the back end. This is a deep and talented pool of ready now prospects.


STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Pavel Francouz became the first rookie goalie in NHL history to go undefeated in six or more decisions in the postseason. he went 6- by beating Nashville twice and then being in net for all four games of the dismantling of the Oilers. TALK ABOUT GOAL SUPPORT! During his six wins, the Avalanche scored at least 4 goals every game and had 34 in the six games, or 5.7 goals per game. Nothing against Francouz but with that kind of support I mighta been able to go .500 lol.


OFFSEASON OUTLOOK Sakic will have little time to rest on his laurels, he must decide which of his own free agents to address, he must start a conversation with MacKinnon on a long term deal, this will be an incredibly busy offseason in Colorado. With a core of Rantanen, MacKinnon, Landeskog, Toews and Makar they are loaded, it is the next level of players which must be addressed and will be. 



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