Avalanche: Regaining Championship Form?
The Colorado Avalanche entered the 2022-2023 NHL season as the defending champions and looked poised to repeat their prior year's success. Despite an array of injuries, they managed to secure 109 points and a first-place finish in the Central Division. But the season ended in disappointment when the upstart Seattle Kraken ousted them in a seven-game first-round playoff series.
Last Season: Impressive Yet Disappointing
Colorado's ESBC Power AI metrics last year were good but not spectacular when compared to their championship-winning season. While they still performed well, the metrics indicate a slight drop in dominance. Remarkably, despite a long list of injuries, including the loss of Captain Gabriel Landeskog for the season, the Avalanche still finished with an impressive 109 points. However, their playoff upset highlighted the limitations of their depth, as their top line carried the majority of the workload without adequate support from secondary lines.
Roster Changes: High Turnover in the Supporting Cast
This offseason saw an exodus of depth players like J.T. Compher, Evan Rodrigues, Alex Newhook, Denis Malgin, Matt Nieto, and Lars Eller. In their stead, the team brought in Ryan Johansen, Ross Colton, Jonathan Drouin, and Miles Wood. While it remains to be seen how these pieces fit, Johansen's presence should alleviate some of the center responsibilities from Nathan MacKinnon. Sadly, Captain Gabriel Landeskog will miss another full season due to injury, leaving a significant gap to fill.
Goaltending and Defense: Consistency and Excellence
The goaltending duo of Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz is back for the new season. They provided a solid netminding foundation last season, and there’s little reason to expect a dip in their performance. Prospects like Justus Annunen are also waiting in the wings, adding depth to the position. On defense, Colorado boasts one of the best units in the league, anchored by the talented Cale Makar.
Jared Bednar, who led the team to a championship in the 2021-2022 season, will continue as the head coach. His familiarity with the core group and system could be an advantage in integrating the new acquisitions smoothly into the lineup.
Season Outlook: Strong But Not Invincible
The Avalanche will likely remain one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Their strong core remains intact, and their new acquisitions should, in theory, provide the depth that was lacking last year. However, the absence of Landeskog remains an issue.
The Colorado Avalanche are entering the 2023-2024 NHL season as a powerhouse with some question marks. Their top lines are among the best, but depth could still be a concern. The new acquisitions must step up to fill the void left by those who have departed. While injuries plagued their previous season, this is a new year, and with it comes the expectation of challenging for the Stanley Cup. They have all the pieces, but it's a matter of how well they can put them together in a grueling 82-game season and beyond.
(Please read our Disclaimer for NHL Team Points Distribution Histograms.)
Here you can find all our (so far revealed) team previews
ESBC - Together more from the games!