JN 2016-17 Season Preview: Colorado Avalanche

Today we are continuing our series that takes a look at fellow Central Division rivals for the upcoming 2016-17 season. Once again the Central Division lines up to be one of the toughest divisions in all of hockey.

Today we will be looking at the Colorado Avalanche. 

How Did They Do Last Year?

Record: 39-39-4 (6th in the Central Division)

The 2015-16 season was a bit of a tire fire for the the Avalanche. They finished with 82 points, which was even worse than their record of 39-32-12 in 2014-15. The Avalanche had 216 goals for and 240 goals against. They could not keep the puck out of the net.

What worked last year was putting Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon together on a line. The pair were a force to be reckoned with.

However, the 2015-16 campaigned was marred with questionable decisions by Patrick Roy. He constantly misused players with poor deployment and bad ice time management.

For the 2015-16 season, the Avalanche only had 4 players with 20 or more goals. They had decent goaltending from Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard. Varlamov had a 2.81 GAA and a save percentage of .914. Pickard had a GAA of 2.56 and a save percentage of .922.

What Did They Do This Summer?

The biggest event that happened for the Avalanche was not even their doing. Mid-July, Patrick Roy abruptly resigned from the Colorado organization. This left the Avalanche looking for a new head coach, which was a good thing for the organization. After a brief search, the Avalanche hired Jared Bednar, who had just led the Lake Erie Monsters to the Calder Cup.

The Avalanche signed 2013 1st overall pick Nathan MacKinnon to a 7 year contract, solidifying the team’s centres. 

As well, they were able to negotiate a 4 year deal with RFA Tyson Barrie. Barrie is a coveted right-handed defenceman, with strong offensive abilities.

How Did They Do Against the Jets Last Summer?

Last season, the Jets went 2-3 for their season series against the Avalanche. Their special teams were abysmal, going 2-12 on the powerplay and 5-15 on the penalty kill.

What to Expect This Season

The Avalanche are in a tricky place. They have elite forwards in Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. The issue is their defence. After Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, the Avalanche really have nothing.

The hiring of Jared Bednar as the new head coach is a step in the right direction for the organization. However, they need to make a few more steps in order to make the playoffs. 

Of all the teams in the Central Division, expect the Colorado Avalanche to be in last place.