Head Coach: Patrick Roy (2nd Season in COL)
Arena: Pepsi Center (Capacity: 18,007)
2013-14 Record: 52-22-8 (Central Division Champions)
Record vs MIN in 2013-14: 4-0-1
2013-14 Corsi For %: 46.6% (26th in NHL)
Top Scorer: Matt Duchene (70 Points, 2.55 P/60)
Top Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov (41-14-6, 2.41 GAA, .927 SV%)
2013-14 Recap: In a season in which the Avs were expected to do little to nothing in the Central Division, they came out of the gate on fire and really never cooled off. Colorado rode their fast start the whole season and eventually jumped St. Louis late in the season to win the franchise's first division title since 2002-03. The Avs were matched up with Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs (also like their 02-03 predecessors) and in one of the better first round series' of the year, Minnesota edged Colorado in overtime of the seventh game.
|Courtesy of Progressive Hockey|
|Courtesy of War On Ice|
Offseason Additions-C Daniel Briere, RW Jarome Iginla, D Brad Stuart: On June 30th, the Avs got their offseason rolling when they traded PA Parenteau to Montreal for Daniel Briere. Briere was falling on the Montreal depth chart, and the hope is a change in scenery (again) will do him some good. No player has killed the Wild in their history more than Jarome Iginla. So naturally, the Avs signed him on July 1st after watching Thomas Vanek sign with Minnesota. Iginla is coming off a 30 goal season with Boston at the age of 37.
Offseason Losses-RW PA Parenteau, C Paul Stastny, G JS Giguere, D Andre Benoit: The Avs could not afford to lose Paul Stastny this offseason, and yet they did just that as he signed with division rival St. Louis. The thinking is that Nathan Mackinnon will slide over to center to compensate for the loss of Stastny, but the Avs top six still took a huge hit when he left. PA Parenteau fell out of favor with coach Patrick Roy, particularly in the playoffs, and was traded to Montreal for Briere. And at long last, Wild nemesis JS Giguere finally hung up his pads after a 17 year NHL career.
Top Prospects: With their first pick in the 2014 Draft, Colorado selected forward Connor Bleackley from Red Deer. He is a solid two way forward who Colorado will need down the road considering all the fire power they already have up front offensively. Joey Hishon was called up during the playoffs for Colorado but is not expected to make the team out of camp this year. He is another high end talent at forward who could pay big dividends for this team down the road. Hishon only registered one assist in three Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay-Matt Duchene-Ryan O'Reilly
Jamie McGinn-John Mitchell-Daniel Briere
Cody McLeod-Marc Andre Cliche-Maxime Talbot
Jan Hejda-Erik Johnson
Brad Stuart-Tyson Barrie
Nick Holden-Nate Guenin
(Projected lines courtesy of NHL.com)
Scouting Report: If any team has regression spelled all over them, its Colorado. The Avs were an awful puck possession team last year, and have been for the last two seasons. Their top six and outstanding goaltending were big in overcoming this deficiency, but with Stastny out of the fold and an aging Iginla now in the mix, the Avs are not likely to repeat their 52 win campaign this season. The Avs forwards love to come at you using their speed, as it was on display during their first round series against Minnesota. It can be deadly at times. Defensively this team is terrible, as they allowed nearly 33 shots per game last year. Varlamov had Vezina worthy numbers last year, and will need to be just as good if not better in 2014-15 for this team to survive.
Check back on Saturday to see where Colorado finishes this season.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell