Skip to content

New and old looks give Avalanche sleeper potential

Aug 19, 2013, 8:33 PM EDT

pattyroygetty Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to write off the Colorado Avalanche in 2013-14, particularly when you consider what will probably be a paltry defense and all their mysteries in net.

Still, there are some interesting reasons why the new look/old look Avs might surprise a few people next season.

First time charm

For several seasons, coaches have made the jump from lower levels of hockey to have immediate success behind NHL benches. Some have carried that strong work over beyond their first season in the league (examples: Dan Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau) while others flamed out (Guy Boucher), but a fresh voice has often helped teams make sudden gains in the wins column.

Of course, those guys have usually been coming from the AHL, not the QMJHL like Patrick Roy.

Improvements

If nothing else, Colorado seems to have nowhere to go but up.

For one thing, 2013’s disaster allowed the Avs to select first overall, nabbing a potential blue chip in Nathan MacKinnon.

Their offense might be closer to full strength due to better circumstances, too. Ryan O’Reilly won’t be mired in contract squabbles. Gabriel Landeskog (hopefully) won’t deal with troubling concussion issues. The team also landed a potential coup by trading David Jones for Alex Tanguay, who still might have some gas in the tank at 33.

Pressure

That previous section represented a potential boon for the Avalanche offense, but if that’s not enough, elements of human nature could spur success.

For one thing, with new management in place, few jobs are truly safe. Even if it’s merely a short-term boost, one can assume that players want to get in the good graces of Roy and Joe Sakic.

Beyond that, some significant players are entering contract years. O’Reilly, Semyon VarlamovPaul Stastny, Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn are among the noteworthy guys who have a lot of money to gain or lose this season.

***

Naturally, plenty can go wrong. That’s especially true for a team that hasn’t been a contender for many years.

Still, there are some appealing reasons for fans to hope that the Avalanche could become a dark horse candidate in 2013-14.

More Avs day fun

Varlamov enters pivotal season

The defense won’t help him

Center could be an area of strength

Latest Posts
  1. Difference of opinion: Craig Button has Hanifin 12th on final draft rankings

    May 29, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT

    Noah Hanifin Getty Images

    NHL Central Scouting thinks slightly more of the B.C. defender.

  2. Devils sign Russian forward Kalinin

    May 29, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    Sergei Kalinin AP

    Spent the past five seasons in the KHL.

  3. Report: With Sabres gig gone, Richardson to re-sign in Ottawa

    May 29, 2015, 1:34 PM EDT

    Luke Richardson 3

    That’s former NHL defenseman and current AHL Binghamton bench boss Luke Richardson.

  4. The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s

    May 29, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    150529_Kesler Getty Images

    “The last two years, we were a different team.”

  5. ‘Canes keep veteran G MacIntyre in fold with one-year, $600K deal

    May 29, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT

    Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes

    Well-traveled journeyman played big minutes for AHL Charlotte last season.

  6. Your Lightning-Rangers Game 7 officials are…

    May 29, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT

    Alain Vigneault Getty Images

    Wes McCauley and Kevin Pollock, who have a fair bit of history working these types of games.

  7. Toronto’s Ross, suspended for PEDs last season, signs in German League

    May 29, 2015, 10:57 AM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs Headshots Getty Images

    Moving to Iserlohn after a tumultuous 2014-15 campaign.

  8. Rutherford explains why Penguins sought compensation for Bylsma, not Shero

    May 29, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT

    Jim Rutherford AP

    Draft picks to hire other team’s fired employees has rapidly become the standard.

  9. Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win

    May 28, 2015, 11:16 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptrjmddjzwzioti1mmuymzk2njjjmzkwndizmmuyodfh AP

    “They need to hear our anthem, that’s a part of losing.”

  10. Chicago’s Sharp on Game 7 confidence (and Mario Kart)

    May 28, 2015, 10:02 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptk3ztbjztrjndbimtgynza0mjy1ndyynjbkmzi4zmyy AP

    Sharp says Blackhawks are ready for “whatever [the Ducks] throw at us.”

  11. Bolts shrug off talk of Madison Square Garden ‘mystique’

    May 28, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    Victor Hedman: “We’re prepared for this.”

  12. Devils’ Shero: No decision yet regarding Clowe’s future

    May 28, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Ryane Clowe AP

    Retirement remains a possibility, and it might be his call.

  13. Schmaltz to Schwartz? Blues sign 2012 first-rounder

    May 28, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

    2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits 2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

    Even their first names are similar (Jordan and Jaden). Fun times ahead …

  14. Politician accuses ‘separatist’ Peladeau of turning NHL off Quebec City

    May 28, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    Nordiques Rally Hockey AP

    “The fact that Mr. Peladeau is a separatist…we know very well whether it’s the owners of the team in Toronto or the owners of the Canadiens, they’re not separatists and they don’t want Quebec to separate.”

Featured video

Which teams have the Game 7 edge?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Nash (1473)
  2. K. Yandle (1335)
  3. A. Vermette (1288)
  4. N. Horton (1216)
  5. M. Carle (1198)