The Colorado Avalanche are about to embark on one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in a while. Here are my predictions for the year.
The Colorado Avalanche start their regular season on Thursday, October 3 when they host the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center. We already know they have pert near their full lineup with the return of the prodigal winger, Mikko Rantanen. The only missing element is Ian Cole, who’s still out recovering from double hip surgery. (And, frankly, he may end up on the fringe with the defensive lineup Colorado has now.)
So, on the eve of the regular season when games actually count toward points and playoff contention, let’s review how the season could go. Obviously, we’re all expecting big things from our Avalanche this season. How big, though? Well, some pundits have them challenging for a Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.
I’m not going to predict that — not yet. However, I do have some bold predictions both positive and negative for the team, players, and even our wayward TV station. So, without further adieu, let’s look at my bold predictions.
Cale Makar will Win the Calder Trophy
Defenseman Cale Makar is already one of the top three candidates going into the season to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Something about scoring his first goal in his first game in the playoffs on his first shot — that’ll make you a prime candidate for rookie of the year.
Well, no pressure, and the competition is steep — namely Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kaako. Neither has any NHL experience, so my bet is for homeboy Cale. And if he struggles at times and doesn’t make the running, that’s ok, too. We’re going to give the kid a chance, aren’t we?
Mikko Rantanen will Regress this Season
I predicted this in my post about the Mikko Rantanen signing. Someone always has to under-perform. And I’m going to make the bold prediction that it will be the man who signed the biggest contract. He’s making the most, we should expect the most, and he’s going to fall short.
I’m not going to predict a drastic decrease — he’s still Magic Mikko and playing on a line with our superstar, Nathan MacKinnon. However, I think he’ll drop down to 20+ goals and “just” 70+ points — not too shabby, but not the 31 goals and 87 points from last season.
It’s not a contract year, after all.
Nathan MacKinnon will Crack 100 Points
Our superstar was just one shy last season. Just one more little old assist, and he would have cracked the 100-point mark.
I say he does it this season. He’s just 24 now — just striding into his prime. And I was watching him during the preseason. At one point during Fan Fest I asked my friend what that blur in the corner was, and it turns out it was Nate Dawg making chop suey with his stick, per usual.
Pavel Francouz will Make 20+ Starts
Last season, Philipp Grubauer won the starting goalie position. He’s a rookie starter this year, and he’s got an even greener backup — Pavel Francouz. Well, the legit rookie, Francouz, looked excellent in the preseason. He crushed his play both in Europe and last year in the AHL.
So, I think he might just earn over 20 starts in the upcoming season. It’s nerve-wracking to have a rookie as your main backup, but, hey, he’s earned the spot. And I think he’s going to get the chance to help the team with his play.
Tyson Jost will Score 20 Goals
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Somebody has to bet on this kid, and we all know by now that someone is me. Tyson Jost needs to have a breakout season, and I boldly predict he’s going to. He’s got new linemates in Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, both of whom have things to prove this season.
Plus, though almost no one want to admit this, Jost was always meant to be a development project. He was scouted lower that the #10 the Colorado Avalanche picked him at. However, he represented the type of player Colorado wanted to move toward, so they took a flyer on him. And I’m confident he’s going to make good this year.
The Colorado Avalanche will be Top 3 in the Central Division
When the Colorado Avalanche won the second wild card spot in Game 81 last season, they made the playoffs for the second season in a row. Well, I think they’re going to do one better this season.
No more sliding into the playoffs as a wild card team at the last minute. I think not only are they going to clinch a playoff berth earlier that Game 81 — maybe even somewhere in the mid 70s — but I think they’re going to get seeded within the top three of the Central Division.
Altitude TV will be Broadcast on Internet TV
Boy, all the excitement of the upcoming season, and fans in the Denver market might not be able to watch on TV. It’s looking clearer by the day that Altitude TV won’t solve its carrier issue with the Big Three — Comcast, DirecTv and Dish.
Well, time’s are a-changing, and the truth is that many viewers prefer to watch sports on their devices. And online platforms exist to stream this content without the need for regular carriers. According to Avs insider Adrian Dater, who sat down with an Altitude exec, they’re already exploring this option.
So, Colorado Avalanche fans, what are your predictions for the 2019-20 season?