Colorado Avalanche Tease of the Schedule Release

Nov 13, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) in the first period against the Boston Bruins at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) in the first period against the Boston Bruins at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche have five regular season and all six preseason games set for the 2017-18 season.

The Colorado Avalanche have given up hosting Central Division rivals on opening night — or maybe the NHL is trying to be kind to the Avs for a change. The Avalanche are not hosting the Minnesota Wild (2014, 2015), the Dallas Stars (2016) or even the Anaheim Ducks (2013) or Los Angeles Kings (2012).

They’re not hosting a Western Conference team at all on opening night. Rather, Colorado is hosting the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, October 11. This is actually the sixth time in franchise history the two teams have gone head-to-head on opening night, though only 2008 and 1999 were as the Avalanche.

Colorado, in fact, is heading east to start its 2017-18 season. The New York Rangers will host the Avs on Thursday, October 5. This is the first time in franchise history — not just Avs history — that the team starts out against the Rangers.

That can only be good. Colorado could use a fresh start on a lot of fields.

This is also only the eighth time the Avalanche are starting the season on the road, though they did so to begin the 2014-15 season. That was a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild, so let’s not focus on that.

After playing in Madison Square Garden, the Colorado Avalanche head south a little to visit who should have been their first-overall draft pick in New Jersey. They play the Devils in the Prudential Center on October 7.

So, as far as we know, the beginning of the Colorado Avalanche season looks like this:

October 5: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers
October 7: Colorado Avalanche at New Jersey Devils
October 11: Boston Bruins at Colorado Avalanche

At first blush, I don’t mind that beginning. The team is going to be a new construction. We don’t know yet which players will be gone, and which will have made the team. But it’s a good bet the roster will be significantly different than last season’s opening night.

Therefore, a quick road trip to the east might be a good way for the players to bond with new teammates.

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What’s more, we all know the Avs can be a mental team. Whatever happens on opening night can affect how they play that team — or even overall — the rest of the season. They’ll only see those three teams once more each in the regular season, so that won’t matter.

As far as the quality of the opening competition, well, the Colorado Avalanche had the worst schedule in the NHL by 20 points. Barring the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights, literally every team is better than the Avs. And viewing the expansion possibilities, the Knights could be better, too.

Except it’s the offseason. The slate is wiped clean, so Colorado is free to make its own path for the 2017-18 season. It wasn’t that long ago (one season) that the team was legitimately challenging for a playoff spot.

In addition to those three games, the Colorado Avalanche are participating in the SAP NHL Global Series. They’ll be playing against the Ottawa Senators at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden, in two games: November 10 and 11.

Side note: I’m interested to see what the Avs’ schedule is around those games. International travel adds to fatigue, so hopefully they have a little cushion after those two games.

We already knew the Colorado Avalanche preaseason schedule:

September 19: Las Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche
September 21: Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche
September 23: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild
September 24: Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche
September 25: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
September 28: Colorado Avalanche at Las Vegas Golden Knights

I’m excited to see the Vegas Knights in person in the preseason opener. Hopefully they play their new backup goalie, our beloved Calvin Pickard.

The game in Vegas is a sort of replacement of the annual Frozen Fury the Colorado Avalanche played against the LA Kings every year. The Knights will also host the Kings in the preseason, on September 28.

Now, it’s true the Avs are facing the dreaded Minnesota Wild in the preseason. However, preseason games against the Wild don’t usually affect how the team does the rest of the year. After all, they beat the Wild twice in the preseason last year and still went on to a 48-point season.

Next: Early Prospect Camp for the Avs

Anyway, the full schedule will be announced tomorrow at 1:00 pm MT. That’s also when single-game tickets go on sale. The Colorado Avalanche will be wearing their new Adidas jerseys for all the games, which are a hopefully auspicious throwback to the sweaters from the glory years.