The Colorado Avalanche play in perhaps the most difficult NHL division, the Central Division.
Every team thinks they play in the toughest NHL division. However, the Colorado Avalanche finished dead last in the Central Division with 90 points. For most other divisions that was middle of the road.
It’s not just that teams in the Central Division are so good. It’s also that Central is a gritty division. The Eastern Conference is know for being fast and high-scoring. The Western Conference is about digging in and being a bulldog.
The following five players could be especially dangerous to the Colorado Avalanche in the upcoming season. So, you know what they say — keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars Center
Center Tyler Seguin is a dangerously good player, and he appears to only be getting better. Last season he had 37 goals and 40 assists in 71 games. He probably would have beaten his previous season’s numbers — 37 goals and 47 assists — if a knee injury hadn’t sidelined him late in the season.
Seguin is one of those pure goal scorers. He shoots a lot, and that means the puck finds its way past the goalie pretty regularly. This could be the season Seguin breaks the 40-goal mark.
He’s only 23 years old, by the way.
Luckily Tyler Seguin didn’t have a ton of success against the Avalanche last season — just two assists in three games. Let’s hope Colorado can keep him limited that way.
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild Defenseman
You want to keep your eye on all the Minnesota Wild players. As far as defenseman Ryan Suter goes, it’s for the right reasons. He’s pretty darn good. As Joe Sakic would say, Ryan Suter plays hockey the right way. (He should be an Av.)
Ryan Suter isn’t going to score the pretty goal — or that many goals actually. Last season he only got two. However, he’s an assist machine, having earned 36 in 77 games last season.
I can’t say Ryan Suter alone was the reason the Colorado Avalanche had such a hard time scoring against the Minnesota Wild last season, but he certainly did a good job defending. Let’s hope the Avs can find some chinks in his armor this season.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators Defenseman
Defenseman Roman Josi is a different mettle than Ryan Suter. Specifically, he’s a scoring little so-and-so. In his fourth NHL year, the 25-year-old scored 15 goals and earned 55 points total in 81 games.
Unfortunately (for the Colorado Avalanche) Josi is pretty good defensively, too. He finished a +15 for the year. According to Predlines writer Mark Harris, Josi’s best defensive strength is blocking shots. He blocked a stupid 209 shots last season — that had to sting.
Josi skates on a pairing with captain Shea Weber. (Which is why our own captain, Gabriel Landeskog, had to defend checking Josi by engaging in his second captain fight of the year.) There’s no reason to think Josi’s stats are going to drop anytime soon.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues Right Wing
Vladimir Tarasenko is an exciting player. He’s a fast skater, and he can explode through the defense if they’re not keeping an eye on him. And once he gets in front of the net, his quick hands release the shot lightning quick.
Last season Tarasenko skated in 77 games. He earned 37 goals and 36 assists for a total of 73 points. That’s almost a point a game — pretty impressive for a 23-year-old in just his third NHL season.
Bleedin’ Blue editor Andrew Martin posits Tarasenko could well score 50 goals this season. Considering he scored three goals against the Colorado Avalanche last season — two in a single game — well, that’s not a comforting thought.
The Central Division is a brutal one, and the above players are part of the reason it’s so tough. However, the Colorado Avalanche have some players worth watching, too — here’s to hoping they prevail.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster