NHL
NHL

2010-11 NHL Previews: Colorado Avalanche

| by Sports Nickel

2009-10 RECORD:
43-30-9/95 points
2nd in Northwest Division
8th in Western Conf.
—————-
GM: Greg Sherman
COACH: Joe Sacco
—————-
2010-11 PAYROLL:
$44,692,000 ($18.1M below cap)

After 18 years in Quebec as the Nordiques, the team made their relocation to the Rocky Mountains and took up the name Avalanche. They won the Stanley Cup in 1996, the year after moving to Denver — the only team to ever win the Stanley Cup in their first season after relocation. Those teams came ready-made for history with stacked draft classes from the Quebec days, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg leading the way and key trade haul Patrick Roy manning the pipes.

Last year was a growing year for a young team, keyed by a brash cadre of rookies and one heroic journeyman goaltender finally getting his chance to shine. If the youngsters can continue to play like they did last year, and the clock doesn’t strike midnight on their Cinderella netminder, the Avalanche will be in for another solid season and could find themselves not only making the playoffs but really challenging whoever they face (instead of being ousted by the Sharks in the first round like they were last season). As the team with the lowest payroll in the NHL, they’re going to be depending on some older and some younger players, but few in their prime, as they try to return to the postseason with a new cast of characters they hope will lead the resurgence in the Rockies.

# Pos Name Height Weight Age
9 F Matt Duchene 5′ 11″ 200 19
11 F Philippe Dupuis 6′ 0″ 196 25
39 F TJ Galiardi 6′ 2″ 190 22
23 F Milan Hejduk 6′ 0″ 190 34
54 F David Jones 6′ 2″ 210 26
28 F David Koci 6′ 6″ 238 29
55 F Cody McLeod 6′ 2″ 210 26
88 F Peter Mueller 6′ 2″ 204 22
37 F Ryan O’Reilly 6′ 0″ 200 19
40 F Mark Olver 5′ 10″ 170 22
12 F Kevin Porter 6′ 0″ 190 24
26 F Paul Stastny 6′ 0″ 205 24
25 F Chris Stewart 6′ 2″ 228 22
34 F Daniel Winnik 6′ 2″ 210 25
18 F Brandon Yip 6′ 1″ 195 25
10 D Kyle Cumiskey 5′ 10″ 185 23
52 D Adam Foote 6′ 2″ 220 39
22 D Scott Hannan 6′ 1″ 225 31
6 D Jonas Holos 5′ 11″ 196 23
4 D John-Michael Liles 5′ 10″ 185 29
27 D Kyle Quincey 6′ 2″ 207 25
44 D Ryan Wilson 6′ 1″ 207 23
41 G Craig Anderson 6′ 2″ 180 29
31 G Peter Budaj 6′ 1″ 200 28

MOST IMPORTANT COG OF 2010: Craig Anderson (starting G) — After having an amazing season in 2010 where he basically drove the Avalanche to the playoffs, Colorado will be relying on him to have another incredible run of play in the upcoming season. He never quits, which is going to help him a lot. Last year, while playing in 71 games, he went 38-25-7. He had a 2.64 GAA with a .917 save percentage. He faced a league-high 2,233 shots last year. If the defense can improve even marginally, those 32.1 shots per game will drop to give him a little more support. Before last year he had been a career backup whose highest number of games played in a season had been 31, so he’s going to need to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke for Colorado for the Avs to return to the playoffs.

KEY ADDITION: Daniel Winnik (C – FA from Phoenix) — He can play any forward position, a versatility that’s definitely a plus up front for this team. He has good defensive talent and has a large frame; but he does not always use that size to his advantage, which ends up hurting him on the offensive side. If he can start to get more comfortable in his body and play to his potential on a new roster, then he’ll be able to eliminate or at least reduce the length of those scoring droughts that he is prone to suffering.

KEY DEPARTURE: Marek Svatos (RW/left to the KHL) – Svatos was a proven goalscorer for this club, though injuries derailed pretty much every season he played in Colorado. Lacking an NHL contract after the season, Svatos signed with Omsk Avangard in the offseason. He has a solid offensive game with a hard, accurate shot and great finishing instincts. He is very good on the ice with the puck on his stick; though he lacks the size and strength to fight for pucks in the corners. Defensively he leaves a little to be desired, and coupled with the injury bug the Avalanche deeming him surplus to their needs. If he sets the KHL ablaze, though, they might regret their decision.

KEY YOUNGSTER: Matt Duchene (C/19 years old) – He is a classic two-way center, playing strong on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Duchene has great goal-scoring prowess and will need to be able to put up a year similar to his rookie campaign where had 24 goals, 31 assists and 55 points while playing in 81 games and only racking up 16 penalty minutes. He plays with a fire and passion and is extremely fast on the ice, which both serve him very well. He, along with Craig Anderson, drove the Avalanche last year and will need to do the same this year. He needs to be able to let the game come more naturally to him instead of trying to do too much on the ice. Another year of NHL seasoning should help him become a cornerstone player for the Avalanche that much more!

OUTLOOK: This year is going to be dependent on Duchene and Anderson. Anderson is going to need to have another solid year like the year before, Duchene is going to need to improve on last year’s great rookie season and the rest of the young players are going to need to improve from last year’s numbers to keep pace in a tough division and conference. This team is going to need to be able to make sure that the shots per game (31.2 last year) comes down, which means that the defensive play by everyone needs to improve dramatically — because the Avalanche cannot have their starting goalie facing 2,233 shots during the season and expect the same outcome they got the year before.

FINAL PREDICTION:

  • 45 wins
  • 98 points
  • 2nd in Northwest/6th in Western Conference

2010-11 NHL Previews: Colorado Avalanche is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

 

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