Colorado Avalanche: Projected Outcome Of The 2015-16 Season


Over the past weeks, we have talked lots and lots about the Colorado Avalanche’s newest additions and what they can possibly bring to the club. We talked about all the question marks, the offense and the defense. We talked about how the Avalanche could fail and how they could exceed everyone’s expectations. But what are they really up to?

Nobody can answer that question because of all those question marks surrounding the Colorado Avalanche as well as their NHL rivals. But instead, we can speculate — and that is even more fun. The first logical assumption would be that we are somewhere in between of the worst-case and the best-case scenarios.

The Avalanche’s first line around Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay doesn’t have to improve by 20 points each and they also don’t have to regress and each get 15 points less. Carl Soderberg doesn’t have to be Ryan O’Reilly 2.0, but that doesn’t mean that he will be a failure as the No. 2 center. Mikhail Grigorenko may not surpass any of the top-six forwards on the depth chart, but that doesn’t mean that he goes back to Russia or becomes a healthy scratch.

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It is important to understand that there is the happy medium between the best case and the worst case. It isn’t win it or lose it for the Avalanche next season. It will likely be all about making their way to the playoffs, one way or another. A wild card spot will be the goal, everything more is just sprinkles on top of the ice cream.

Chances are that not every Colorado Avalanche prospect will make the team next season. However, chances are that some of them will. It may be Mikko Rantanen, it may be Joey Hishon, it may be Chris Bigras. That must be enough to get the point across.

The important part is that all the moves the club made this off-season were very good and very important for the team. Francois Beauchemin and Nikita Zadorov are great additions to a shaky defense. Soderberg is a very good two-way center who certainly has the potential to play on the second line, even if he hasn’t done it before. Grigorenko also brings a lot of potential and Blake Comeau will be a great addition to the bottom six and make up for losing Jamie McGinn to the Sabres.

In a very realistic scenario, the 2015-16 Colorado Avalanche may look something like this:

Tanguay — Duchene — Iginla
Landeskog — Soderberg — MacKinnon
Comeau — Grigorenko — Everberg
McLeod — Mitchell — Winchester

Beauchemin — Johnson
Zadorov — Barrie
Stuart — Redmond


Of course there is a lot of unproven talent in there. Soderberg hasn’t played on a second NHL line before, Jesse Winchester and Dennis Everberg are coming off injuries, Grigorenko hasn’t proven to be capable of being a full-time NHL player. Brad Stuart, Nick Holden and Nate Guenin are all below-average defensemen.

But fact is, I don’t have to cry when I look at that projected lineup. It could be better, which becomes especially clear when we think back to having Duchene, O’Reilly and Paul Stastny as our centers. Soderberg and Grigorenko sure aren’t O’Reilly and Stastny, but it could also be much worse. Plus, Joey Hishon, Mikko Rantanen, Borna Rendulic and co. are just waiting to get their chance in the NHL.

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The defense looks very similar. Of course Beauchemin and Johnson aren’t Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, but it could be much worse, as we have just been able to witness last season. Zadorov may need some time to grow into a second-pairing role, but he sure has the potential. Stuart and friends are more of a burden than an asset right now, but there are guys like Duncan Siemens and Chris Bigras waiting to get their chance.

In net, we still have Reto Berra, who was mostly unable to prove that he can play in the NHL. But at least Semyon Varlamov is ahead of him on the depth chart and Calvin Pickard is ready to jump in if Berra fails to deliver. It’s not like our three goalies are Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth and Richard Bachman (sorry, Edmonton).

So am I changing my mind on what to expect for the upcoming season? No. There are still lots of question marks. But there is a lot of potential on the roster and enough talented guys to jump in if someone fails to deliver.

We still have to remember that injuries happen. Last season, both Varlamov and Johnson were injured for a good amount of time. If that happens again, there may not be a player of the same quality to jump in. That is the worries and excitement of the upcoming campaign. Anything ispossible.

However, if everything goes right, there is a good chance that the Colorado Avalanche will be back in the playoffs in 2016. After all, they almost made it this year and arguably got better through off-season moves.

What do you think? Where will the Avalanche end up next season? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments!

Next: 3 Avs Whose Situation Has Improved

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