Western Conference Outlook: Colorado Avalanche


In this installment of our Western Conference outlook series we take a look at a Predators Central Division foe, the Colorado Avalanche.

In case you missed it, we took a look at the San Jose Sharks and predicted how the Predators will fare against them next season here.

The Avalanche A Year Ago

The Predators went up against the Avalanche four-times last season and finished the season with a 1-2-1 record for the season series.

The Predators may have just beaten the Avalanche once last season, but the one win over Colorado was a great one. All wins of course are great, but the win at Colorado in early November was a little extra great.

The Avalanche were riding a six-game win streak and held a record of 12-1-0 through their first thirteen games of the season as they welcomed a Predators team they had already beaten three to one at the start of the season. The Predators were coming off of a win in Los Angeles against the Kings four-days prior to the meeting; it’s safe to say that mojo and confidence carried over into the game against the Avalanche. The Predators beat the Avalanche, by a the score of six to four, handing Colorado just their second loss of the season in fourteen-games.

Colin Wilson lead the team that night with two-goals on three-shots and also added two-assists to his name.

Roll the video highlights:

Back to reality, enough reflection on that great game by the Predators.

The Avalanche were predicted to finish in the bottom-half of the Central Division by multiple sources and sites prior to the drop of the puck last season. The Hockey News predicted the Avalanche to finish sixth in the Central Division (Predators 5th) while CBS New York predicted the Avalanche to finish last in the Central (Predators 6th).

The tough predictions given to the Avalanche were mostly due to the fact they were welcoming in first-time NHL coach and vice president of hockey operations, Patrick Roy. The former Montreal Canadians and Colorado Avalanche net-minder was hired in May of 2013.

Roy’s first-game was far from boring:

video courtesy of Fred Murtz

Usually, when a team is introducing a new head coach, the team had a disappointing season/seasons the year(s) prior; the Avalanche fit that description.

In the shortened 2012-2013 season the Avalanche finished 29th in the NHL under head coach Joe Sacco. The Avalanche found themselves as the second to last team in the NHL standings both that season and the 2010-2011 season under Sacco. Change was needed, and so was talent; enter new NHL-star Nathan MacKinnon.

Mackinnon was selected by the Avalanche as the number-one pick in the 2013 NHL Draft; the pick that most predicted to have Seth Jones’ name written in stone, but we all know where he fell.

Mackinnon, who played all of last season as an eighteen-year-old, put up incredible numbers. The speedy forward played in all 82-games last season for the Avalanche and lit the lamp 24-times and assisted his teammates on 39 other occasions for a total of 63-points.

Behind the stellar play of Mackinnon and Colorado’s other young forwards such as Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Gabriel Landeskog, and Ryan O’Reilly (who all had 60 or more points) found themselves as Central Division champions, the number-two team in the Western Conference, and the number-three team in the NHL at season’s end.

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The Avalanche faced off against the Minnesota Wild in round-one of the Stanley Cup playoffs and lost the series in thrilling fashion in seven-games.

Nathan Mackinnon went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy last season (NHL’s top-rookie).

Avalanche Off-Season Moves

The Avalanche, despite being one of the top teams in the NHL last season, have made quite a few moves this NHL off-season.

Key additions to Colorado’s roster are veteran Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere, and Brad Stuart. Iginla is the highlight of the off-season additions. Iginla offers a veteran role to a very young forward corpse in Colorado. Iginla had 61-points in 78-games last year with the Boston Bruins.

The key loss that the Avalanche suffered this off-season was center Paul Stastny. Stastny had 60-points in 71-games with the Avalanche a year ago. Other notable losses to Colorado are P.A. Parenteau, Andre Benoit, Cory Sarich, and Brad Malone. Parenteau and the company listed played in a combined 220-games collectively last season in Colorado and combined for 76-points.

Predators Predictions Against The Avalanche

The Predators face-off against the Avalanche five-times this upcoming season; twice in Nashville and twice in Colorado.

The Predators have a lot of new faces on their team to start this season, and kind of quietly, so do the Avalanche. Both teams have a few question marks, obviously the Predators have a lot more than the Avalanche, but question marks none the less. Colorado’s biggest questions are their defense and defensive depth and how new faces such as thrity-seven year old Jarome Iginla will fit in with the young, speedy forwards in Colorado.

Anyways, we will still give you guys our predictions on this upcoming season’s series between the teams even with the astounding number of question marks surrounding the Nashville Predators.

I think the Predators-Avalanche series will be a very entertaining, high-scoring bunch of games. A shoot-out type game may not fall into the Predators favor if looking at last year’s Predator’s season in comparison to Colorado’s and Colorado’s speed and young-scoring talent on the ice.

With that being said, I think the Predators finish next season with a 2-2-1 record against the Avalanche; winning both of the games in Nashville then falling in all three-games in Colorado.

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