The Colorado Avalanche hockey club had a wonderful season last year. This young team with a rookie head coach was first in the Central Division beating out the power house teams from Chicago and St. Louis. Unfortunately they did not make it out of the first round of the playoffs where they were defeated by a skilled Minnesota Wild team. The entered the draft and costless agency with a better understanding of what the team needs going forward.
Enter the off season. The draft was not as exciting for the Avalanche this year as it was last year, only because they did not have the number one overall pick. Having made the playoffs the Avalanche were not going to get another Nathan McKinnon in the draft, but they didn't need to. The Avalanche did select a good collection of potentially good players headlined by center Conner Bleackley.
Costless agency is were the Avalanche made there greatest additions. Jarome Iginla, a veteran forward with some gas still left in the tank, was the biggest splash. He comes with leadership, offensive skill and some much needed playoff experience that the Avalanche were laking last season. The Avalanche also added Daniel Briere, Brad Stuart and resigned Ryan O'Reilly and Tyson Barrie. There was one loss for the Avalanche, Paul Stastny who signed with the St. Louise Blues.
Even with the loss of Stastny, the Avalanche have add the players to make the team a real threat in the NHL this season. The line combinations that Patrick Roy can through out will give opponents fits. Even with the addition of veteran players the Avalanche still have a lot of youth on there team and they all now have a little playoff experience. Nathan McKinnon will only get better as well as the Avalanche core players in Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, and Gabriel Landeskog up front. With the additions of Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere and a healthy Alex Tanguay, the Avalanche will have a very potent Offense. The blue line will also be improved this season. The addition of Brad Stuart will add some much needed grit to the team's defense. If Erik Johnson can repeat his stellar performance from last year and Tyson Barrie and Nick Holden can continue to improve there games the Avalanche defensive core will no longer be thought of as a liability. The goal tending situation for the Avalanche is a good one. Semyon Varlamov will be looking to continue his stellar play from last year. The only question mark will be who will back him up. Reto Berra will undoubtably be the front runner since he was on the roster last year. However, there are some good young net minders in the system and they will give Berra a run for his money. The Avalanche are still a young team and there may be some prospect that surprise us this season as they did last year. Patrick Roy is a magician with bringing out young players talent so keep your eyes on the younger players in the Avalanche system.
The 2014-2015 season should be a very eventful one for the Colorado Avalanche. There will be greater challenges as the rest of the league will not think of them as a push over any more. They are a team that must be respected with speed, skill, and a little grit. Bring on the NHL regular season!