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
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.
See more team previews:
Dallas Stars 8/10
Minnesota Wild 8/11
St. Louis Blues 8/13
Winnipeg Jets 8/14
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
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