Colorado Avalanche defense prediction
The defense will be led by Cale Makar. The Norris trophy-winning defenseman is a generational talent and maybe the best defenseman this league has seen in a long time, if not ever. Bowen Byram is a young defenseman with upside and he’ll be on the roster. The same goes for Devon Toews, whom the Avalanche stole from the Islanders some years back, and Samuel Girard. Girard provides a lot out of a lower-pair defenseman, and he’s very valuable to the team.
Jack Johnson was re-signed this offseason, and he’s got veteran experience, including in the playoffs. The Avalanche likely see him as a mentor-type player for the younger defenseman, but of course, he’s still got gas left in the tank. Josh Manson is a hard-nosed player who provides a lot. He’s comfortably on the roster and can also provide grit when needed.
The 7th defenseman will come down to likely Sam Malinski or Jack Ahcan, and Ahcan will earn the spot. A smaller player than Malinski, Ahcan has NHL experience, and produced nearly more than a point every other game at the AHL level last season. Colorado signed him in the offseason from Boston and had to envision him helping out at the NHL level in some form this season.