Colorado Avalanche 2015-16 Season Preview


Colorado Avalanche Facts

General Manager: Joe Sakic

Head Coach: Patrick Roy

Captain: Gabriel Landeskog

Assistant Captains: Jarome Iginla, Cody McLeod

Arena: Pepsi Center (18,007)

2014-15 Attendance: 16,177 (23rd)

AHL Affiliate: San Antonio Rampage

2014-15 By the Numbers

(All numbers from The Hockey News)

Record: 39-31-12 (90 pts, 7th in Central)

OT/SO Record: 2-8/10-4

Offense: 2.55 GPG (23rd)

Defense: 2.72 GAA /21st)

Power Play: 15.0% (29th)

Penalty Kill: 84.6% (5th)

Corsi Close: 43.10% (29th)

Longest Winning Streak: 3-0-0

Longest Winless Streak: 0-4-0

2015-16 Colorado Avalanche

Key Acquisitions: D Francois Beauchemin, D Nikita Zadorov, D Brandon Gormley, C Carl Soderberg, C Mikhail Grigorenko, LW Blake Comeau

Key Departures: C Ryan O’Reilly, LW Jamie McGinn, D Jan Hejda

Top Players of Each Position: G Semyon Varlamov, D Erik Johnson, F Gabriel Landeskog

Prospects to Watch: RW Mikko Rantanen, C Mikhail Grigorenko, G Calvin Pickard, D Chris Bigras, C Joey Hishon

Depth Chart: 

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Three Strengths

1. Center Depth

In recent history, the Colorado Avalanche has lost Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly. It is even more impressive that center depth is still one of the club’s biggest strengths. Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Carl Soderberg, John Mitchell, Mikhail Grigorenko. Additionally, Joey Hishon and Conner Bleackley are both hoping to break into the lineup sooner rather than later. The Avs may have many problems, but center depth isn’t one of them.

2. Young Core

For quite some time now, the Avalanche has been in a most curious situation. Many teams have tried it, but not too many have succeeded. What I’m talking about is a rebuild-but-not-really, a retool if you will. Colorado decided to hang on to Stastny for as long as possible, then lost him to free agency. O’Reilly was traded before that could happen again. The team stumbles around in the standings, between disappointing last places and a Central Division title. Overall, the team has not yet succeeded, but one thing did work out: the Colorado Avalanche developed a young core that’s ready to win, but still outside of their prime. Key players like Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon and Barrie are 24, 22, 20 and 24, respectively.

3. Goaltending

Goaltending is an extremely important aspect in hockey. Luckily, the Avalanche generally doesn’t have to worry about that — at least as long as Semyon Varlamov is in net. In the 2013-14 season, he was Colorado’s Carey Price and allowed the team to win a division title. Pretty neat. Even if he isn’t in net, the Avs have more than decent options in Reto Berra and Calvin Pickard. Okay, Berra isn’t outstanding, but if he falls to below-average, Pickard will be ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Three Weaknesses

1. Overall Depth

The Colorado Avalanche’s overall depth is a major issue. They have lots of great centers and many options for the bottom line — but that’s about it. If a key forward like Duchene, Landeskog or Iginla goes down, there is no obvious replacement. The same goes for the unfortunate occurrence of an injury on defense. It worked decently last season, when Erik Johnson was out for 35 games, but as we all know, the Avs missed the playoffs. There is no good plan in place if Johnson or Barrie go down. And to get back to the many bottom-line options, they include Marc-Andre Cliche and Patrick Bordeleau among others, so… yeah.

2. Powerplay

Last season, the Avalanche’s powerplay ranked 29th in the league. When you stuff star players like Duchene, Landeskog, Iginla, Tanguay, Barrie and Johnson into two lines, you would expect better results. O’Reilly is gone now, but Soderberg should be a decent PP-replacement. Let’s just hope Patrick Roy knows how to fix that group.

3. Defensive Uncertainty

The defense was a major issue last season. Colorado did something about it and brought in Francois Beauchemin, Nikita Zadorov and Brandon Gormley. But is that enough? As it stands, Zadorov will start the season on the bottom pairing, while Gormley is a healthy scratch. Furthermore, Nate Guenin is still paired with Barrie. This group may work out really, really well, but it’s just too much uncertainty as of right now. Defensive uncertainty also goes for the offense, especially after O’Reilly’s departure. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.


Hope for the best, prepare for the worst was a perfect transition. This team has so much talent, especially with additions like those of Grigorenko and Rantanen, but also so many question marks, e.g. about Grigorenko and Rantanen. The dream is that Grigorenko can get it together, Rantanen has a helluva rookie season and that, well, everything works out perfectly. Reality looks different.

More from Avalanche News

All summer long, we’ve been trying to analyze and predict literally everything about this team. In the end, we are sitting here with as much knowledge as at the beginning. The question marks are the same and instead of answering some of theme, coach Roy brought in more. A prediction for this season is probably impossible.

Vegas has Colorado’s Stanley Cup odds at 80/1. So there’s that. Now that people have started to predict this season’s final standings, I have seen every Central Division team at No. 1 somewhere. Except for the Avalanche.

None of that tells us anything, but that isn’t even that negative. How much fun would hockey be if you knew what was going to happen? Not so much. This team can be beat by all 29 teams in the league, but it can also win against every one of the 29 teams in the league. Folks, it’ll be an exciting season — let’s get this started!

Next: 5 Things That Need to Happen for Successful Season

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