The Wild Wild West: Let’s Get Used to the Colorado Avalanche’s New Division

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 02: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 02: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Arizona Coyotes

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 15: Joonas Donskoi #72 and Valeri Nichushkin #13 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate a second period goal by Andre Burakovsky #95 against Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Arizona Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 15, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 15: Joonas Donskoi #72 and Valeri Nichushkin #13 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate a second period goal by Andre Burakovsky #95 against Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Arizona Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 15, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

2019-20 Record: 33-29-8, 11th in the West (1-1-0 against Colorado)

Remember these guys?

The series Cale Makar cemented himself as a playoff hero, the Avs know the Coyotes too well. Although it’s been over a year since the Avalanche faced the team in the regular season, one which saw an Andre Burakovsky scoring the OT winner in his fourth game with the team, the real action game in the playoffs.

Through the five games in the first round of the playoffs, the Avs made work of the Coyotes, overpowering them in a 5 game win. The only struggle was Darcy Kuemper, the Coyotes’ undisputed MVP, and a reason the scores weren’t higher. Kuemper nearly put up 50 saves in one game, stopping the Avs at most of their charges.

The Coyotes have a growing core to look forward to, as leading scorers Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland each put up respectable seasons, the latter getting his first 20-goal season. Still leading the team is Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who continues with the club after months of speculation. There’s also Phil Kessel, who had a down year after high promise.

What’s missing is Taylor Hall, who after his own speculation bounced and signed with Buffalo. As much as Hall got a lot of criticism, he still led the Coyotes in scoring with 52 points. The Coyotes never replaced Hall with anybody, and are relying on their young core — players like Garland, Clayton Keller, and even Lawson Crouse — to fill the void.

The Coyotes will probably end up making the playoffs, where the Avs could easily barrage Kuemper with almost 50 shots again.