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. Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT

    Official Announcement Of Mike Babcock As Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Getty Images

    “We are here to build a team that is capable of winning a Stanley Cup. There are no shortcuts to go around doing that.”

  2. B’s re-sign Spooner: two years, $1.9 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:06 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Winnipeg Jets Getty Images

    23-year-old had 18 points in 29 games last year.

  3. Green signs with Red Wings — 3 years, $18 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:05 PM EDT

    Mike Green Getty Images

    Moves on from Washington, the team that drafted him in 2004.

  4. ‘It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel’

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:38 PM EDT

    Phil Kessel Getty Images

    Penguins GM considers his new winger in the same class as Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos.

  5. After Preds buyout, Stalberg signs one-year, $1.1M deal with Rangers

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT

    Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Nashville Predators warms up prior to a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on October 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(October 23, 2013 - Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    29-year-old forward will look to get his career back on track.

  6. Roundup: Jackman to Preds, Moore to Devils, Parenteau to Leafs

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:04 PM EDT

    Barret Jackman

    Some smaller signings to pass your way…

  7. Saad ‘a bit shocked’ by trade, but ‘looking forward’ to joining Jackets

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:57 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad AP

    Still needs to sign a new deal, but Columbus will match any offer sheet.

  8. PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Mike Green Getty Images

    All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.

  9. KHLers Burmistrov (Jets), Tikhonov (‘Hawks) make NHL returns

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    Alex Burmistrov AP

    Both spent the last few seasons playing in Russia.

  10. Lightning nab Condra for three years

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    Marc Methot Chris Terry AP

    One of the Senators’ main penalty-killers last season.

  11. Canucks pick up Bartkowski

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:29 PM EDT

    Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins Getty Images

    27-year-old never really panned out in Boston.

  12. Coyotes stay busy, ink Downie, Michalek and Lindback

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

    Steve Downie Getty Images

    Having already signed former Canuck Brad Richardson.

  13. Avs sign ‘versatile, dependable’ Comeau to three-year, $7.2M deal

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:11 PM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Nice raise after playing for $700,000 in Pittsburgh last season.

  14. Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT

    150701-Phil-Kessel Getty Images

    End of an era in Toronto. A premier goal-scoring winger heads to Pittsburgh.

  15. Blues re-sign Lehtera: three years, $14.1 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT

    Jori Lehtera Getty Images

    Finnish forward coming off a strong first season in St. Louis.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (2388)
  2. M. Richards (2346)
  3. C. Talbot (2074)
  4. R. O'Reilly (1971)
  5. S. Gagner (1907)
  1. A. Niemi (1771)
  2. E. Etem (1739)
  3. R. Lehner (1703)
  4. M. Lucic (1611)
  5. C. Pronger (1514)