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Season preview: Colorado Avalanche


Season preview: Colorado Avalanche

To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.

Today’s team: Colorado Avalanche

2014-15 record: 39-31-12, 7th in the Central

How they finished: Did not make the playoffs

Coach: Patrick Roy (3rd season)

Notable additions: C Carl Soderberg, D Nikita Zadorov, C Mikhail Grigorenko, D Francois Beauchemin, LW Blake Comeau

Notable subtractions: C Ryan O'Reilly, LW Jamie McGinn, C Daniel Briere

RELATED: Bruins walk away from Caps' ECHL affiliate

Schedule against the Capitals: Sat. Nov. 21 at Washington, Fr. April 1 at Colorado

Outlook: You can't win a Stanley Cup in the first few months of the regular season, but you can lose it. That was the case last season for the Colorado who got off to an abysmal 9-13-6 start. Patrick Roy's squad was never able to recover and missed the playoffs despite going 30-18-6 for the rest of the season. A good start will be key this year.

The loss of Ryan O'Reilly hurts, there's no doubt about it, but the offense is still brimming with talent. Though this team may have several veterans like Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, their most important pieces on offense are young players who should be even better this year with another year of NHL experience under their belts. Their top line features three players--Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Nathan Mackinnon--who are all under the age of 25. They also added Mikhail Grigorenko who is poised for a breakout season. He will likely center a line with Iginla and Tanguay on the wings. You can't ask for a better situation for a young player than that.

The Avalanche also added two key pieces on defense in Francois Beauchemin and Nikita Zadorov. Beauchemin will likely play with Erik Johnson on the team's top pair while the 6'5", 230-pound Zadorov will play on the second. That's an instant upgrade to a defense that struggled last season.

Expectations: Colorado is a young team that keeps getting better. If you take the team that went 30-18-6 from last season, add another year of development and experience for their young talent and add a defense, then this is a playoff team. Plus, they have great veteran leadership that will really help once they reach that point.

How far the Avalanche go this season will depend on how ready their young stars are ready to produce, but they have the potential to make some real noise.

MORE CAPS: Projecting Caps who could play in the World Cup

See more team previews:

Pacific Division 
Anaheim Ducks 
Arizona Coyotes 
Calgary Flames 
Edmonton Oilers 
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks 
Vancouver Canucks

Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks 
Dallas Stars 8/10 
Minnesota Wild 8/11
Nashville 8/12 
St. Louis Blues 8/13 
Winnipeg Jets 8/14

Atlantic Division 
Boston Bruins 8/15 
Buffalo Sabres 8/16 
Detroit Red Wings 8/17 
Florida Panthers 8/18 
Montreal Canadiens 8/19 
Ottawa Senators 8/20
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21 
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22

Metropolitan Division 
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23 
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24 
New Jersey Devils 8/25 
New York Islanders 8/26 
New York Rangers 8/27 
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28 
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29 
Washington Capitals 8/30

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.



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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!