Should The Colorado Avalanche Preseason Woes Be A Concern?


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The Colorado Avalanche


is off to a 0-3-1 start. So we should probably all panic.

Or not.

Despite the poor start, there’s no reason to put a lot of stock into the NHL pre-season where the most important thing to accomplish is just staying healthy. So far, besides losing fourth line grinder Patrick Bordeleau, the Avs have managed to stay healthy. That in itself is a victory.

Otherwise, pre-season is used for figuring out who meshes with who and whether or not a rookie or “in-between” player can make the opening night roster. The line combinations and defensive pairings you see during the pre-season might not be the line combinations you see on opening night. Head coach Patrick Roy acquired a couple of new pieces and lost a key player in the off-season. Roy hasn’t been able to see how everyone fits in a game situation yet. I’m sure he has an idea of who has chemistry with who based on training camp, but training camp and live games are two different things.

Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere, and Brad Stuart figure to be big factors in the Avs line-up. Iginla is a sure-fire top six forward, Briere can play multiple roles, and Stuart will be a top four defenseman. It’s tough to just insert those guys into the line-up and expect everything to immediately click. Plus, Nathan MacKinnon is now the full-time #2 center, playing with two wings that he has little to no experience with.

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  • You also have to factor in the mindset of the players. They know it’s


    , and while it’s tough to just flip a switch and expect to win, a lot of players use pre-season to work out kinks in their game and play safe in order to avoid injuries. The


    have a lot of guys who rise up when the games start to mean something. We saw that all last regular season.


    just doesn’t mean a lot to them. They know that the real work begins on October 9th in Minnesota. Also, let’s be honest, the


    line-up is more or less set in stone and these guys know that.

    Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Gabe Landeskog, Alex Tanguay, Iginla, MacKinnon, John Mitchell, Max Talbot, Jamie McGinn, and Cody McLeod are guaranteed to be on the opening night roster for the forwards. Stuart, Erik Johnson, Jan Hejda, Tyson Barrie, and Nick Holden are the five guaranteed defensemen. While I doubt they are complacent and aren’t competing hard, they also know that their spot is safe and just need to make it through this pre-season as healthy as possible, shaking off any off-season rust.

    That leaves two roster spots open up front for guys like Jesse Winchester, Marc-Andre Cliche, Joey Hishon, and Borna Rendulic and one roster spot for Ryan Wilson, Zach Redmond, or Stefan Elliott on defense. Those are the guys worth paying attention to during the pre-season, because they should be competing on every shift.

    It’s also nice to get these losses out of the way now. See what went wrong in the pre-season and adjust. Obviously you’d like to make the adjustments during the preseason and head into the regular season with a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, but there are still four pre-season games remaining for the team to pick up a couple of wins and feel good heading into the regular season.

    Remember, these games don’t technically matter. If the Avs lose every single preseason game but win their opener, would anyone be complaining?