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Avalanche season 7 preview Written by Seymour Buttz - September 18th, 2010

The stated goal last season for the Colorado Avalanche was to make the playoffs, and aside from the fact they were swept in 4 games by the Anaheim Ducks, they did accomplish their goal. This season it appears their goal is to not only make the playoffs but make some noise while there.

It has been a summer of change for the Avalanche as has become commonplace with GM Sentinel20, but unlike in past years it seems the staff actually did their homework this season. The team appears to have a solid 4 lines going into the season and a vast amount of depth in the farm, and until recently they have been able to keep the payroll down to under cap. The tinkering will continue but the basic roster you see is the team that should enter the season barring any major trade.

Goal: Last years acquisitions of JS Giguere and Devan Dubnyk have both gotten the call to be in the Avs nets. Though Giguere has had past success in this league he has struggled the past few seasons, but hopefully regaining his once mighty form would serve him and the team well. He is backed up by youngster Devan Dubnyk who is inexperienced in the league, but everyone in Colorado feels hes ready fro the challenge, which is why they signed him to a 2 year deal in the summer.

Rating: C+ Solid goaltending but my no means extraordinary, should still be enough to make a run at playoffs

Defence:The defence underwent minor tweaking this summer. Probably the most significant move was re-signing stalwart Matias Ohlund to a 3 year contract. Ohlund and McKee were a wonderful paring last season and complimented each other well, leading to McKees best point totals of his career. Both are signed long term and despite their age could be key pieces to Colorado for a long time. Michael Del Zotto was a pleasant surprise last season, coming in as a rookie and not looking a bit out of place. He had Mike Komisarek as a defence partner last year and this year he is slated to play with Matt Carle, who should also help the youngster along. Rounding out the D are youngster Kyle Cumiskey and vet Andrew Ference. Matt Carkner and Wade Brookbank have also been signed in case one of these fall off

Rating: B+ This d should be able to play with any team in the league.

Forwards: This is the area that has seen the biggest change and some are mighty surprising. Gone is fan favourite Marco Sturm and he is replaced by aging veteran Paul Kariya. This move raised a few eyebrows, but it seemed to make a little more sense when the team announced the signing of long time Kariya friend Teemu Selanne to a 1 year $4.1 million contract. Though in their "golden years" in hockey circles the pairing still has the potential to be a dangerous duo.

Also brought in was Thomas Holmstrom on a 2 year deal. GM Sentinel said he had his eyes on Holmstrom since they were eliminated from the playoffs, as he felt they needed to get bigger and better on the forecheck, though he admits to slightly overpaying, he was able to land his man and still build around him.

Other newcomers are Vaclav Prospal, Mike Ribeiro, David Krejci, David Booth, David Backes, Sergei Kostitsyn, Ethan Moreau, Oscar Moller, Tim Jackman, Stefan Meyer and Zack Smith. All are competing for very few spots and its likely many will end up in Abbotsford making for a very strong farm team. In fact about the only forwards returning from last years team are Colin Wilson and James Wright.

The team was able to jettison high priced help they had last year like Mathieu Schneider, Sergei Samsonov, Bill Guerin and Darcy Tucker. All in all id say this has been maybe the most successful rebuild that Sentinel has done in his time here. It will be interesting to see if the way this team is shaping up on paper translates into real,life once the season begins.

Rating:A- Lot of dangerous weapons here, its just a matter of whether they can all come together and if vets Selanne, Kariya and Prospal still have the required gas in the tank.

All in all there is reason for great opptomism in Denver this coming season, and with all signs pointing towards some great prospects in the system like Moller, Carter Ashton, Brayden McNabb, Ryan Bourque and the still developing James Wright and Colin Wilson it would appear that the plan Sentinel had laid out 3 years ago is finally starting to come to fruition. It should be an exciting year for fans of the Avs and hopefully for many more years to come.

Prediction:2nd in division.

Submit A Comment -

It was a good read, but WOW... 2nd? I think that our division is gonna be very tough this year.

Written By: Matsson (2010-09-19 07:00:20)

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