Scouting the Division: Colorado Avalanche

We know what the Blackhawks have done in free agency thus far. So let’s look around the division and see what else has gone on since the 2021 season ended. We’ll now head to Denver to discuss the Colorado Avalanche.

  • Expansion Draft: Joonas Donskoi
  • Key Losses: Brandon Saad, Philipp Grubauer, Carl Soderberg, Ryan Graves, Patrik Nemeth, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Conor Timmins
  • Key Additions: Darcy Kuemper, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid, Dylan Sikura, Darren Helm, Stefan Matteau
  • 2021-22 Cap Space: $2,380,203
    (per CapFriendly)


Donskoi scored 17 goals in 51 games for Colorado last year, a total that ranked fifth on the team. Saad scored 15, which ranked sixth. And both averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time per game. Those two losses up front plus the defections of Nemeth and former Blackhawk Soderberg leave a few holes for the Avs to fill.

Perhaps the most significant loss is Grubauer, however. The Avs extending Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog left them in a tight spot financially and the Kraken stepped up with a deal for Grubauer (that deal was initially rejected by the NHL so it’s being restructured).


Kuemper replacing Grubauer is an intriguing play that cost the Avs additional assets; Colorado does not have a pick in the first, second or fourth rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft right now. Colorado also traded for MacDermid to add a physical presence to their blue line.

But beyond those two, the additions of Helm, Matteau and Sikura don’t do much for the NHL roster.

11 thoughts on “Scouting the Division: Colorado Avalanche

  • September 2, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Tab – COL also lost D man Ryan Graves who they traded away to NJ presumably for cap reasons

    That is big loss IMO – their D has cost them in two consecutive playoffs and if Graves Nemeth and Timmins are being replaced by Murray Byram and who? I don’t see any upgrade there

    Plus none of Makar Girard or Byram are particularly good in the defensive zone plus they lost some scoring up front and a Vezina caliber goalie

    I think they’ll struggle a little bit although they’re better than the Hawks but if all goes well for CHI maybe not by much

  • September 2, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Colorado had the best record in the nhl last season.

    Maker finished second in Norris trophy voting last season and is obviously a stud defenseman.

    Darcy Kuemper will easily replace Phillipp Grubauer
    Grubauers sub par performance in the last two games against Vegas in the playoffs buried the Avalanche.

    Colorado will have one of the best records in the nhl again.
    Chicago will be lucky to make the playoffs.

    To compare Chicago to Colorado is laughable.

  • September 2, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    Stape- agree w much of your comment

    I do believe Hawks will be better– then you think

    Toews- stays healthy- and mentally engaged ( I think 19 has lost a lot of “want”- guy has won everything/ and hates being knocked down/beaten by guys who he knows couldn’t/shouldn’t touch him (when 19 was in his prime))
    McCabe and Murphy stay healthy- big IF here… these guys go down and it’s back to young/smallish D guys

  • September 2, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Stape – like I said ‘IF all goes well in CHI’ I think they can finish 2nd in the division behind COL who will again have a good regular season record but the Lanche still need to learn how to play defense in the playoffs

    I also don’t think CHI needs to be lucky to make the playoffs unless you talking about all the main players staying mostly healthy as a form of luck which I guess it is

  • September 2, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Not trying to bookmark a ready made excuse should things not go well but the truth is there will be a lot of players that either are new to the team (S.Jones, McCabe, Johnson, Borgstrom, Khaira, C.Jones), played only a handful of games with the Hawks last season (Gaudette, Connelly, and even Dach and Kalynuk played only 18 and 21 games respecively) or didn’t play at all last season (Toews and Nylander). That’s half the roster that haven’t played in the system at all or not long enough to feel comfortable to transition from thinking to instinctual. All teams have roster turnover to some extent but half the team is a lot.

    Therefore, I can see the Hawks finishing anywhere from 2nd behind Colorado to 7th ahead of Arizona. I think where they end up in the standing will in large part depend on quickly the team gels to the point they can be cohesive on a consistent basis.

    Of course there are other factors that will play into where they finish, most notably if Toews plays and plays well, but it will probably require some games for the team to gel the way they need to for them to finish in a playoff position.

  • September 2, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    ER – good points – the other X factor is JC
    Can he coach a team that’s no longer simply developing talent but expected to at least be competitive for the playoffs?

    Outside of Toews’ health this to me is the biggest question and I’m only feeling 50/50 that he’s up to the challenge- we’ll see

  • September 2, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    I think Chicago will miss the playoffs.
    Vegas odds makers make me think Chicago will miss the playoffs.

    What a bold prediction…”I can see the Hawks finishing anywhere from 2nd behind Colorado to 7th ahead of Arizona.”

    The good news is if Chicago does finish 7th they will get a high draft to add to their already weak farm system…. Oops Blowman has already traded the pick.
    No need to think about next year’s draft anyway….Worry about that later.

  • September 2, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Pick still ours if we win the lottery. Rather have the 22 23 #1 for Bedard.

  • September 2, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    Think Ottawa will give up Tampa’s #2 and Boston’s #3 for Strome & Connelly?

  • September 2, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Anyone want to talk about James Neal 1 year 1 million?

  • September 2, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Is he paying us?

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