It’s that time again, the Colorado Avalanche training camps are open and hockey season is preparing to swing into full gear. The Avs are looking to pickup from where they left off last year. Last year’s performance was well above expectations, and had many Avs’ fans pleasantly surprised.
However this year, the team’s expectations should be higher. The Avs’ impact player this year will be Matt Duchene, last year’s 3rd overall draft pick. Duchene had an incredible season last year and was runner up for the Calder Memorial trophy. Also carrying the scoring load for the Avs this year will be Paul Stastny, a 5 year vet with the team. While only being at the young age of 24 Stastny will be one of the leaders for the Avs’ young lineup.
On the defensive side of things, long time NHLer Adam Foote will be wearing the “C” again this year. Foote is the oldest player by a landslide on this young team and will provide experience and leadership to the young core of the team. Foote will be the rock on defense with his physical style of play, similar to that of Scott Hannan’s. Adam Foote does not produce points on the game sheets but his ability to clear out the front of the net can not be denied.
The man between the pipes will be Craig Anderson this year, with Peter Budaj being his backup. Anderson will be the starter for the Avs, he put some impressive numbers last year (recording 7 shutouts) for the team and was a big puzzle piece that helped the team’s playoff dreams come true. The questions concerning Anderson will be regarding his endurance. The U.S. born goaltender started the 09-10 season with a bang winning 10 out of 14 games for the month of October. But the good start wore off as the Avs began to slide down the standings during mid-season. Anderson looked sluggish and slow, but to be fair that was his first year with the team and he played 40 more games than the year before. If Anderson can hold up his stamina, Avs fans get out your playoff towels because outstanding goal-tending can carry a team through playoffs as we saw in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year.
Some additional information that could change the Avalanche season will be the health of the squad. Peter Mueller who only played 69 games with 37 points has suffered a concussion and is looking like he will be out for an extended period of time. With the cap space the Avs have, and the cap space the Devils don’t have, rumours are buzzing that a trade could be imminent. The Devils have to dump some cap space before the season starts and the Avs have plenty of room and could use another veteran player alongside Milan Hejduk. Although, some of this cap space could be used to sign a few rookies and prospects that come from the what seems like a never-ending supply. One of these players is Kevin Shattenkirk out of Boston University. Shattenkirk has the skill to crack the defensive core and could contribute a few points to the club.
With all that being said; look forward to seeing the Colorado Avalanche make a strong run for the playoffs again this year. Last year’s run gave the young squad some much-needed experience to a team that needed it. The Northwest division pins the Avs up against Vancouver, Calgary, Minnesota, and Edmonton. The games against the rival Canucks will be the most important games of the year and should be very entertaining.
About the Author
Written by Rob Ferguson
Id just like to say i eat sleep and breath hockey, news, stats, games, i love it all.