As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche are a team that did not have a ton of holes during the offseason. In fact, they even extended a couple of their top stars including Valeri Nichushkin and Nathan MacKinnon.
Despite those losses, the Avalanche are still well-prepared to make it back-to-back championships. They still have a young core that can get the job done, which will make the 2022-23 season exciting!
Who all is on the Colorado Avalanche’s opening day roster? Let’s take a look…
Colorado Avalanche Forwards
Anton Blidh — The Colorado Avalanche placed Anton Blidh on waivers on Monday, October 10, but he was not reassigned to the Colorado Eagles. Instead, he remained on the Avalanche’s roster.
Blidh was signed by the Avalanche on August 3rd after spending time with the Boston Bruins, as well as several other hockey leagues. He has four goals and eight assists in 70 career games played since being drafted 180th overall in 2013.
Blidh is the fourth-line left winger.
Andrew Cogliano is the team’s third-line left winger. He enters his second season with the team at 35-years old. He played in just 18 games last season, recording an assist.
J.T. Compher is the team’s third-line center. Compher had 18 goals and 33 assists during the 2021-22 season. He has 12 game-winning goals and three overtime goals for his career, but none came last season.
He is entering a contract year.
Darren Helm has had his share of hockey games played. At 35-years old, he enters his second season with the Colorado Avalanche. Last season, he played in 68 games, recording seven goals and eight assists.
Gabriel Landeskog — Currently injured from last season, Gabriel Landeskog will miss the start of the 2022-23 season. Landeskog is the team’s captain and has been for the last ten years.
He has 248 goals and 323 assists in 738 games. He ranked tied for 85th in the league in points with 59. Last season, Landeskog had five game-winning goals during the regular season, including an overtime goal.
Artturi Lehkonen — is the team’s first-line left-winger, pairing with the great Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. He scored just six goals for the team last season, but he did only play in 16 games. His career-high in goals is 18, which he got in 2016-17 with the Montreal Canadiens.
Nathan MacKinnon — Nathan MacKinnon is one of, if not the best players in the entire NHL with his quick approach to the puck and the net, as well as his incredible shot. He has more than earned the contract extension he received earlier this offseason, which made him the highest-paid player in NHL history.
MacKinnon missed a good chunk of last season on due to injury. If he manages to stay healthy, he will undoubtedly be near the top of the league in points.
I expect MacKinnon to be at his very best in the 2022-23 season, helping lead the team to back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Alex Newhook is projected to be the team’s starting second-line center, replacing Nazem Kadri. There had been some concern about this as Newhook isn’t quite as polished as one would hope yet. However, that will come only with experience. I’ve pounded the table for them to announce him as the top guy to replace Kadri. It sounds like that’s the direction they’re headed—at least to start.
Valeri Nichushkin — During Nichushkin’s last year with the Dallas Stars, he played in 57 games and recorded a grand total of zero goals.
It was time for a change and boy, are the Colorado Avalanche glad to have him. In two of Nichushkin’s three seasons with the Avs, he has had a +/- of over 20. He’s contributed to 42 goals via assists, and has 48 goals with the Avalanche.
Nichushkin earned a big contract extension this offseason.
Logan O’Connor — O’Connor went undrafted in 2018, O’Connor played 104 games in two years with the Colorado Eagles. In 2018-19, he was called up for five games but recorded no stats. During the 2021-22 playoffs, O’Connor had one goal and three assists.
Mikko Rantanen — Mikko Rantanen had a career year last year with 36 goals and 56 assists in 75 games as the Avs’ top line right wingman. Last year, he contributed with two game-winning goals in the regular season and five goals and 20 assists during the 2022 playoffs.
That top line for the Avalanche looks extremely good.
Evan Rodrigues — Rodrigues was a candidate to replace Kadri but right now, he is the team’s second-line right wing instead of second-line center. Rodrigues comes to the Avalanche as a free agent this offseason. Hopefully he will contribute to many goals.
He spent five seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and two with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 53 goals and 76 assists in 316 games. He was talked about by many fans as a player they wanted the team to sign this offseason.
Lukas Sedlak is the team’s 4th-line center. Sedlak spent three years with the Columbus Blue Jackets and played in 162 career games. He had just 15 goals and 12 assists in that time. Overall, Sedlak has a 51.7 face-off percentage.
Sedlak has not played in the NHL since 2018-19. In between then and now, he spent time with Traktor Chelyabinsk and Czechia.
Colorado Avalanche Defense
Bowen Byram — Bo Byram was considered by many to not be ready to take on a major role for the Avalanche. He is the team’s second-line left defenseman, pairing with Josh Manson.
Samuel Girard — Girard missed the end of the 2021-22 season due to a broken sternum. With the depth on defense, there was speculation that he would be on the trade block as the team still potentially had a chance at re-signing Nazem Kadri.
That never happened, so as of right now, Girard won’t be going anywhere.
Erik Johnson — Erik Johnson was the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He spent three seasons there before coming over to the Avalanche. He has played 654 games with the Avalanche, and for his career has 88 goals and 241 assists in the regular season.
Kurtis MacDermid —In 176 games played in the NHL, MacDermid has eight goals and 14 assists. He enters his second season with the Avalanche after spending time with the Los Angeles Kings. He had 89 penalty minutes with the Avalanche last season.
Cale Makar — Cale Makar is a top player not only on the Colorado Avalanche, but in the entire NHL. He led all defensemen in goals with 28. He is tied for fifth among defensemen with 58 assists.
He won the Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe trophy last season.
Makar was drafted in the top-5 of the 2017 NHL Draft and in 2021, he already earned a contract extension that ties him to the team for six years at $54 million.
Avalanche fans are ecstatic about the future with Makar.
Josh Manson — Josh Manson is the second-line right defenseman for the Avalanche beside Bo Byram. Following the trade that sent Manson to Colorado, he snatched five goals and 10 assists, including the playoffs.
A full offseason with the Avalanche as well as training camp play should end up helping Manson in the long-run.
Manson is a physical defenseman which is very important in the NHL. Manson won’t be a high-scoring defenseman but he can hold down the fort when his line is on the ice.
Devon Toews — Toews enters his third season with the avalanche after beginning his career as a fourth-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2014. He had a career year with the Avalanche last year, playing in 66 games, scoring 13 goals and 44 assists. He was solid on the power play, finishing with two goals and 12 points.
Colorado Avalanche Goalies
Alexandar Georgiev — Acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers, Georgiev replaces Darcy Kuemper, who was a big part of the Stanley Cup run. Georgiev came to the Avalanche with 129 games played and 117 career starts. Hie is 58-48 as a starter.
Georgiev has a 2.94 Goals Against Average and a save percentage of .908. He has eight shutouts in his career.
He was previously backing up the best goalie in the league in Igor Shesterkin.
Pavel Francouz — Francouz is more than capable of being a reliable goaltender for the Avalanche and I was surprised to learn that Georgiev would be acquired to be the main guy instead of him. In three seasons, Francouz has started 49 of 57 games played. He has a 36-14 record, 1,639 saves and a goals against average of 2.46.
Francouz was a huge part of the Stanley Cup win with Kuemper out with an eyes injury.