It has been a hard fall this season for the Colorado Avalanche, but it did not start out that way. Sure, they lost their head coach Patrick Roy before it even began, but things were looking bright for a team who has struggled in finding the right pieces to the puzzle in the past few years. The Avalanche went 6-0-0 in the preseason and won their first two games in regular season play. One of those regular season wins even came against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But things started to change in Denver very quickly, leaving Avalanche fans scratching their heads and asking the question, what happened?
Breaking the Colorado Avalanche Fall
Whats gone wrong this season?
Like a lot of good teams who have had bad seasons in the past you can point your finger at the management or coaching. However, when you look at the numbers, the production on the ice just hasn’t been there. The Avs rank last in goals for with 134 and third in goals against with 222. They’re also the fourth worst team in shots on goal per game at 27.7 per game and fifth in shots allowed at 32.1 per night. There is no doubt this team lacks offensive and defensive production.
Being out of Colorado has seemed to work for Jarome Iginla as he has been revitalized offensively with his new club, the Los Angeles Kings. Iginla has played in six games so far and scored his first two goals last Thursday night including his first O.T winner since December 13th, 2010 as a member of the Calgary Flames.
What’s the next move?
Trading Tyson Barrie in the off-season would be a good first step in the right direction. Barrie will have a lot of value once the current NHL season concludes. If the Avalanche were to receive a first round pick in this year’s draft, the club would most likely opt for a defenseman. This makes trading Barrie that much more significant with the upcoming expansion draft as well. Trading him away now would give them a chance to build on offense as they are in desperate need of another top six forward following the departure of Iginla.
With the way, this season has gone for Colorado, the team and its fans will probably be thrilled once it is over. However, they should take some positives going into the 2017-2018 season if their management can make the right moves to get to where they need to go.
Dipping into the Free Agent Market
Certain upcoming free agents such as Milan Michalek might be a good pickup for them. Michalek becomes a free agent this off-season and would love to get back in the NHL after being sent down to the Toronto Marlies this season. He would bring a veteran presence to the locker room and could be a candidate to bounce back. He’s been a scorer in the NHL in the past and could play some minutes on the second line with Matt Duchene. Michalek would be a very low cost gamble for the Avalanche.
It would also be valuable to consider perusing a player like Colin Greening. Greening also becomes a free agent this summer and would bring a veteran mentality with the capability of playing on a grinding line. He’s 6’2” and a solid 210 pounds, that brings a nice physical presence. One things for sure the Avalanche have a lot of work to do and it would be better to weather the storm sooner than later.
Finally, they must focus on goaltending. Semyon Varlamov has not been consistent, and the could explore getting a new starting goaltender. Why not take a swing at Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Bishop? Bishop becomes a free agent after this season as well, which is part of the reason he was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning before the trade deadline. If you look at the Los Angeles Kings goaltending situation right now you can tell his time there will most likely be short lived since they already have Jonathan Quick as a solidified starter. If he doesn’t sign back with the Kings and tests the free agency market don’t expect him to be there very long. A team such as Colorado should definitely consider taking a run at him.