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. Dillon’s agent: Discussions with Stars are ‘frustrating and disappointing’

    Oct 1, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT

    Dallas Stars v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Apparently they won’t hand him Cody Eakin’s two-year, $3.8 million deal.

  2. Video: Flames’ Gaudreau scored another nice one

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Here are some assorted goals for entertainment purposes.

  3. Report: Marc Staal wants at least $6M per year from Rangers

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Getty Images

    He’s reportedly asking for a hefty six or seven-year deal.

  4. NHL shoots down Tkachev’s contract with Edmonton

    Sep 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    tkachevvlad Getty Images

    Updated with GM Craig MacTavish’s comments.

  5. Sabres expect Kaleta to miss about one month

    Sep 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs V Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Buffalo was fearing a broken jaw, which would be even worse.

  6. NHL Board of Governors approves Islanders sale

    Sep 30, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT

    islanderslogo

    It looks like the transition from Charles Wang’s ownership will ramp up soon.

  7. Johansen, Blue Jackets talks haven’t just resumed, they’re ‘very polite’

    Sep 30, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

    What a difference injuries and a nearing regular season makes …

  8. Drouin’s goal is to return for Lightning opener

    Sep 30, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT

    Lightning Camp Hockey AP

    He says the “progress has been really good.”

  9. Risk Factors: Toronto Maple Leafs edition

    Sep 30, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    Randy Carlyle Getty Images

    Will this be another season to forget for Toronto?

  10. Babcock was raving about Smith’s performance versus Leafs

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    Brendan Smith AP

    Called him “the best defenseman on the ice.”

  11. Caps still haven’t identified their 2C

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Brooks Laich Getty Images

    “We’ve got three games left here, so we really need to finalize what we’re going to do.”

  12. Spezza wants to ‘get comfortable’ before talking contract with Stars

    Sep 30, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v Dallas Stars Getty Images

    “I’m not naive, I know as the season goes on it’ll become more of a talking point.”

  13. Jets get good news on eye injuries to Cormier, Galiardi

    Sep 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Patrice Cormier Patrice Cormier

    Looks like both have avoided serious damage.

  14. Speedy recovery: Giroux (lower body) to play vs. Rangers tonight

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

    claudegirouxcgetty Getty Images

    Flyers captain will make preseason debut at Wells Fargo.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (2341)
  2. R. Johansen (2081)
  3. E. Malkin (2075)
  4. F. Forsberg (1843)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1801)
  1. J. Drouin (1760)
  2. C. Giroux (1727)
  3. G. Nyquist (1681)
  4. D. Stepan (1655)
  5. T. Krug (1655)