Review Of 2011-2012: 41-35-6, 88 points, 11th in Western Conference, Missed Playoffs.
Additions via free agency: Milan Hejduk, David Jones, P.A. Parenteau, Erik Johnson, J.S. Giguere, Shane O’Brien, Matt Hunwick
Additions via trade: None
Subtractions: Peter Mueller, Jay McClement, Kevin Porter
Gabriel Landeskog had a brilliant first year in the NHL, will be interesting to see if he can equal, or surpass what he did last year, especially with the captaincy placed on him at such a young age. Landeskog, along with Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly, provided the real firepower for Colorado last year, and will look to do the same this year. A key added peice is P.A. Parenteau, he is a great setup man, and could prove very handy to the big guns, potentially increasing their point totals substantially. Steve Downie has been a real surprise the past few seasons, putting up career highs in points, but still with a tough guy attitude (100+PIMs each of the past 3 seasons). Matt Duchene and David Jones look to continue their strong play (despite the +/-) next season, especially on the man advantage. Milan Hejduk, Ryan O’Reilly, and Jamie Mcginn all make the offense a little more dangerous, all three can set it up, as well as score, O’Reilly moreso than the other two.
Colorado’s defense is a mixed bag to say the least. The top defenders in Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda, a combined -24 on the ice, looking to turn it around this season. Ryan Wilson is looking towards another 20 point season, if not more pending he plays out the entire season. Greg Zanon comes over from Boston, while he isn’t a big time defender, he is pretty well balanced in his defensive game, he can put up points, but not a lot of them, he can block shots and hit a bit as well. Ryan O’Byrne and Shane O’Brien will be the big hitting and shot blocking machines this year, with O’Brien being the one witha higher point total when all is said and done.
The Avalanche net is in safe hands with Semyon Varlamov in for his second full campaign. While the end of the season wasn’t too kind to him (1-4-1), Varlamov will look to continue his strong play of early on, but the team in front of him will dictate which way this team goes, 30 wins for him isn’t out of the question. A strong backup in JS Giguere helps, barring injury, which Giguere has battled the past few seasons. He will provide strong mentorship to Varlamov, as well as provide quality backup goaltending.
Prediction: 3rd In Northwest Division, 9th In Western Conference
Still thinking Vancouver and Minnesota will finish above Colorado in the division. Believe Colorado will put up a huge fight and just miss the playoffs by a few points.
P.A. Parenteau may not be the big name when it comes to standout players, but this year, with his setup abilities, and the potential for line mates, this year could be absolutely massive for him in the points department.