2015-16 Central Division Preview: Colorado Avalanche

2014-15 record: 39-31-12 (90 points)
7th place in the Central Division, 11th place in the Western Conference
Goals For: 219
Goals Against: 227
Power Play: 15.0% (29)
Penalty Kill: 84.6% (5)
Team Faceoff Pct: 50.8% (14)

Key Offseason Moves
2015 Top Draft Pick: Round 1 – Pick 10 – F Mikko Rantanen
Additions: Carl Soderberg, Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Francois Beauchemin, Blake Comeau, J.T. Compher
Subtractions: Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn

  • Are the Avs better or worse heading into 2015-16? BETTER

Their leading scorers last year were on opposite ends of the age spectrum: now 38-year-old Jarome Iginla and 21-year-old Gabriel Landeskog, who both posted 59 points in 82 games. The other ancient warrior on the payroll,  34-year-old Alex Tanguay, has one year left on his deal but finished with as many points – 55 – as Matt Duchene and O’Reilly last season.

Soderberg might be five and a half years older than O’Reilly, but his offensive production (92 points in the last two seasons) has been consistent in Boston and he’s a big body center. Grigorenko had been enigmatic in Buffalo since the Sabres made him the 12th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, but he earned that high draft status playing exceptionally well for current Avs coach Patrick Roy with the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.

Zadorov is a massive kid (6-5, 235) who only turned 20 in mid-April this year. Adding him and Beauchemin to the blue line will make the Avs tougher to play against this year than they were in 2014-15, when Colorado nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

  • Will Colorado be a playoff team this year? Maybe

They need more than 64 games from Nathan MacKinnon. They need more than 47 games from Erik Johnson. And they need Duchene and Landeskog to take the next step as both superstars and leaders in the league for them to climb in the best division in the NHL.

9 thoughts on “2015-16 Central Division Preview: Colorado Avalanche

  • August 31, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I tend to think this team will be closer to the 2013-2014 then the dumpster fire they were last season. For me its all about defense and goaltending. I think they have enough talent in their top six, but after that it gets really iffy. Barrie is good offensively but scares me in his own end and he is their only real stud defensive player.

    Semyon Varlamov needs to play more consistently. When he is on his game he can be a top 5 tender, when he is off his game he looks like a guy the should be in the AHL. I think he will bounce back from his weak numbers last year.

    The Avs will likely be fighting for a playoff birth this season throughout

  • August 31, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Doubtful this team finishes anywhere but last in this division (might be 3rd place team in the Pacific). They caught lightning in a bottle two years ago but underlying metrics still say their defense and possession stinks.

    Speed was their calling card against the Hawks but this year’s team is nowhere as quick – Beauchemin, Soderberg, Iginla are plowhorses.

    Would not be surprised to see Patrick Roy throw in the bottle on this team come January

  • August 31, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I don’t like how they play & don’t trust the coaching staff as they are too one-dimentional for my taste.
    They do have a lot of talent, size and speed in their squad, though. That, plus the GK make them a playoff team in my eyes. Not a deep playoff team, but they’ll get in for sure.

  • August 31, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Roy did his crazy man act on opening night two years ago and it set the tone for the entire season. He was acting out of control banging on the glass between the benches and making threatening gestures at Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau and it fired up the team and they won the game 6-1. The young players rallied behind their wild man leader and played with a confidence far above their experience. Unfortunately for them, that kind of act doesn’t doesn’t have staying power and last season saw them crash back to earth. Last season also saw their #1 d-man miss almost half the season with an injury. He was pretty good in the 40 some odd games he played in. Last season also saw MacKinnon go from an ascending star player to a “what happened to him” 2nd year player.

    If Johnson stays healthy and plays as well as he did last year and if MacKinnon returns to his rookie level of play, the Avs should be better. But, unless they drastically improve their overall team defense they will end up out of the playoffs.

  • September 1, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Team looks a little deeper and better balanced.

    PO’s will really depend on how other teams ahead of them stay healthy (or out of jail)

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