5 Bold Predictions for the Colorado Avalanche Season


The regular season is almost upon us. After surprising the league last year by going for the worst team in the Western Conference to the second best, the Colorado Avalanche aren’t likely to sneak up on anyone this year. The team underwent a couple of big changes this offseason and people are having a hard time figuring out whether or not last season was a fluke and if the team got better or worse in July.

That’s why I’m here to help. Here are five bold predictions for your 2014-2015 Colorado Avalanche.

1. Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon will both finish in the top 15 in scoring

Last year Matt Duchene finished with 70 points in 71 games, good enough to tie for 16th in the league at scoring. Nathan MacKinnon finished with 63 points to lead all rookies. After spending the offseason training with Sidney Crosby and his expert staff, I’m expecting even better seasons from the two Avalanche centers. Duchene proved that he was ready for superstardom last year before falling victim to a late season injury while MacKinnon exploded in the playoffs. In the preseason MacKinnon has looked much stronger on the puck while not losing a step while Duchene looks hungry on every shift. Duchene be flanked by old teammates Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay while MacKinnon will play alongside Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog. Both centers are surrounded by top-notch talent that should help them put up strong scoring numbers.

2. Gabriel Landeskog will score a hat trick

The Avs haven’t had a player score a hat trick since Matt Duchene in 2011. With all the talent they have, I expect that to change this year and I’m thinking that captain Landeskog is the guy to change that. He’ll use his size, speed, tenacity, and finishing ability to wreak havoc on teams all year. That havoc wreaking will be on full display in one game as Landeskog will put the puck in the net three times for an Avalanche victory.

3. Reto Berra will win 60% of his starts

Jean-Sebastien Giguere was a .500 goalie for the Avs. He won 31 games in 60 games of record. For a back-up goalie, winning half your games isn’t exactly a terrible thing if your starter is getting the job done, and we can all agree that Semyon Varlamov got the job done last season. Reto Berra will be better than Giguere. Fans were skeptical about the trade for Berra last year as he disappointed in every single appearance he made, but with an offseason to work with Francois Allaire and a very strong preseason; it looks like Berra is ready to justify the trade and offseason contract.

4. Erik Johnson will lead the team in +/-

Johnson led the Avalanche defensemen in points last year, but only finished with a +5 rating. That was fifth among Avalanche defensemen. I’m expecting a better defensive effort from Johnson this year. Part of that will be his improvement and part of that will be his pairing with Brad Stuart, who is a prototypical defensive defenseman.

5. The Colorado Avalanche will make the playoffs

Depending on what publication you read, you might see the Avs ranked as a top three team in the conference, a bottom three team in the conference, and anywhere in-between. People can’t seem to figure this team out thanks in large part to their weak advanced stat numbers. I’m not a big fan of the advanced stats. I watch the game and know what I see. And I see this team making the playoffs. Their top six is as good as it gets, they improved the depth in the offseason, the defense got a little bit better, and Varlamov is still Varlamov. They might not be as good as last season because last season seemed to be a magical culmination of new and old. They’ll be more complete and prepared for April though, which is what really matters.

What are your bold predictions for the 2014-2015 Colorado Avalanche season?