The Colorado Avalanche have had a tough season thus far. They are currently sitting last in the Western Conference with a 13-31-2 record.
It has been a season full of speculation for the Avalanche this year, as there has been all kinds of rumours. That obviously can’t help a team in which has fallen into ex-Oilers territory.
Too much offence, not enough defence
This team is witnessing the same problem that the Edmonton Oilers had for a long time. They are stuck with an abundance of offensive talent, but on the back-end they are struggling. Matt Duchene has been thrown around in a ton of rumours, as a potential trade chip for the Avs to pick up something more for the back-end. Not sure exactly what Colorado will do, considering they were the best team in the West two seasons ago.
What has happened since then? Well, this year the Avs have lost a lot of games due to injuries. Erik Johnson breaking his fibula on December 3rd has not helped their defensive core whatsoever. Starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been shutdown for the remainder of the season, forcing them to rely on Calvin Pickard and Spencer Martin. There was no question that Varlamov was being overworked. And, as of January 20th, Rene Bourque and Tyson Barrie are on the IR with lower-body injuries.
A few bright spots
Even though Colorado’s season has been poor, there have been a few bright spots in all of it. At times this season, young forward Mikkko Rantanen, the 10th overall pick for the Avs in 2015, has looked solid. He has a bright future, as a big (6’4) goal scorer.
Nathan MacKinnon looks more and more like the future leader of this Colorado Avalanche team. GM Joe Sakic has very few ‘untouchables,’ but MacKinnon is one of them. If anyone is to be moved for an upgrade on the back-end, it will not be him.
Goalie Calvin Pickard looks like he could be the future starter for this team. If the Vegas expansion draft goes how some think it will, goaltender Semyon Varlamov may be left unprotected. Pickard has been good in spots this season, but if he takes on too much of a workload, he could end up like Varlamov.
Look forward to the NHL Draft
If you’re an Avalanche fan, this season has not been kind. But the off-season will be. This upcoming draft has a wealth of good prospects, including projected #1 Nolan Patrick from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Another pick for the Avs could be Timothy Liljegren, a defenseman currently playing in the SHL. As per Sportsnet, he is rated as the #2 prospect, behind Patrick. This is another situation in which the Avalanche, by picking Nolan Patrick, would be adding yet another centre. Too many forwards and not a strong enough defensive core is what has caused this team to fail this season.
Nevertheless, the Colorado Avalanche have a lot of young players. If they keep playing the way they are right now, they will acquire a few more roster-worthy ones in this year’s upcoming NHL Draft.
What do you think the Avalanche should do? Do you trade away Matt Duchene, or keep him? There are so many possibilities, but if something isn’t done soon, someone is bound to lose their job.