It’s a strange time in the world right now. Here we are about to enter the month of August and we are talking about the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Usually, around this time we see ourselves in the dog days of summer, but this year we are filled to the brim with hockey! Christmas sure came early! The Colorado Avalanche finished 3rd overall in the NHL, and are a top pick to go on and win the cup. Let’s dive into this team and see just how good their chances are in this strange postseason.
Colorado made their playoff roster two days ago. 31 players compiled of 17 forwards and 11 defencemen and three goaltenders. The names of the players are as followed:
- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare #41 (C)
- Shane Bowers #14 (C)
- Andre Burakovsky # 95 (LW)
- Matt Calvert #11 (LW)
- J.T. Compher # 37 (C)
- Joonas Donskoi #72 (RW)
- Sheldon Dries # 15 (C)
- Tyson Jost #17 (C)
- Nazem Kadri #91 (C)
- Gabriel Landeskog #91 (LW)
- Nathan MacKinnon #29 (C)
- Vladislav Namestnikov #90 (C)
- Valeri Nichushkin #13 (LW)
- Matt Nieto #83 (LW)
- Logan O’Connor #25 (RW)
- Mikko Rantanen #96 (RW)
- T.J Tynan #36 (C)
- Mark Barberio #44 (D)
- Bowen Byram #45 (D)
- Ian Cole #28 (D)
- Kevin Connauton #7 (D)
- Samuel Girard #49 (D)
- Ryan Graves #27 (D)
- Erik Johnson #6 (D)
- Anton Lindholm #54(D)
- Cale Makar #8 (D)
- Connor Timmins #20 (D)
- Nikita Zadorov #16 (D)
Round Robin Schedule:
The Avs are one of the lucky teams who get the benefit of a round-robin schedule. This meaning they will play a series of games to determine seeding in the Western Conference. Essentially, their record decides their future opponent. If you are a hockey fanatic, here are the Avs games as followed:
Sunday August 2nd: Blues vs. Avalanche
Wednesday, August, 5th: Avalanche vs. Stars
Saturday, August 8th: Golden Knights vs Avalanche
The Avalanche have been one of the best teams in the NHL and for good reason. GM Joe Sakic added a lot in the summer of 2019, such as Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi to bolster the top six. They also added nice buy-low candidates in Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichsukin to add to the offense.
Colorado exploded this year finishing fourth in the NHL goals per game, only trailing the Lightning, Capitals, and Maple Leafs. They also finished sixth in goals against per game. A gigantic improvement from the 17th ranked goals per game they had in 2018-19.
Despite injuries to Philipp Grubauer, Pavel Francouz has been a great story for the Avs. A 30-year-old rookie signed out of the Czech Republic, he put together a .923 save percentage in 34 games with the Avs. Exceeding Gruabuers .916 across 36 games.
Oh yea, there’s also that Cale Makar kid. You know, just tallying 50 points as a defender, and as a rookie. So that is a huge factor going in the team’s favor.
The Avs are in an interesting spot. They find themselves in a better spot than they did last season, yet a lot of questions remain. The biggest one I found is who is going to start for the team? I’m sure the round-robin games will decide that with Grubauer and Francouz splitting time between one another. Compared to Vegas tandem of Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury, Dallas tandem of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin, and St Louis with Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen. While the Avs may not have the best goalie matchup on paper, they make up for that with a dynamic offense and incredible speed.
Last season we saw Colorado knocking out the Calgary Flames in five games, and nearly knocking out the San Jose Sharks in seven games. After getting so close to the Conference finals just a year after being knocked out in the first round, expectations are raised. I see the Avs going on a deep playoff run if things go right and everyone stays healthy I see them coming out of the West and surprising all of their opponents more so than the last 2 seasons.
I predict the Colorado Avalanche will be the team to come out of the Western Conference Finals. I feel they have the blend of talent and speed to prove to be a formidable force for the rest of the league.
We are days away from hockey coming back to our screen for the foreseeable future. With that said, to quote Chance the Rapper and as they say in hockey: “LET’S DO THAT HOCKEY!”
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