The Avalanche have improved their team in other ways
The article accounts for current rosters and current farm systems. Whether the Avalanche farm system is prepared to produce NHL talent within three years has already been discussed, and it’s probably not likely to occur.
The Avalanche have improved in other ways, however. Chris MacFarland strikes me as a bit of a mad scientist while sitting in the wheelhouse running the Avalanche. He’s had to do some gymnastics to navigate the cap of late, and those continue, but he’s also been able to improve the team through trades and free agent signings.
When Darcy Kuemper left after the team won the Stanley Cup, he went out and traded for Alexandar Georgiev, who’s been more than serviceable as the starting goalie. The Bulgarian born netminder posted 5 shutouts with a 2.51 goals against over 62 games for Colorado last season.
MacFarland traded Alex Newhook, a 2019 first rounder, for two draft picks in this year’s draft. He then immediately traded the 37th pick to Tampa Bay for the rights to Ross Colton, who he then proceeded to sign to a four-year contract. Although the jury is still out on Colton’s impact, he should shore up the bottom six for Colorado this year and beyond.
To quell the critics of their farm system, MacFarland drafted young Russian defenseman Mikhail Gulyayev with the 31st pick that was obtained in the Newhook deal.
To top all of those, the Avalanche were able to obtain first round pick Ryan Johansen effectively for a bag of hockey pucks this off-season (no disrespect to Alex Galchenyuk). If Johansen is anywhere near his 21-22 production levels, the Avalanche will have greatly improved at a fraction of a cost. Copious amounts of time on the 1st power-play unit likely await Johansen, along with vastly improved team offensive play, and those in turn should allow him to equal or surpass the 63 points he scored in 21-22.