**Rating system for “Plus/Minus” Series**
+3 = Major Upgrade
+2 = Upgrade
+1 = Slight Upgrade
0 = Same as prior year
-1 = Slight Dowgrade
-2 = Downgrade
-3 = Major Downgrade
Team: Colorado Avalanche
2010-11: 68 points, #14 in Western Conference
Returning: N / A
Arrivals: Semyon Varlamov, JS Giguere
Departures: Brian Elliott, Peter Budaj
Yes, the Avs paid way too much to get Varlamov from the Capitals, but you can’t deny that he is exponentially better than both Budaj and Elliott. Giguere, who was signed to be the backup, is also better than both!
Returning: Erik Johnson, Kyle Quincey, Ryan O’Byrne, Matt Hunwick, Ryan Wilson, Kyle Cumiskey
Arrivals: Jan Hejda, Shane O’Brien
Departures: John-Michael Liles, Adam Foote
Colorado has a plethora of quality D prospects, but they are stuck behind a very marginal group of defensemen. Jan Hejda is a solid addition as a shutdown D-man to play with Erik Johnson, but I don’t see how they are going to replace Liles’ 46 points.
Returning: Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, David Jones, TJ Galiardi, Milan Hejduk, Jay McClemment, Kevin Porter, Brandon Yip, Cody McLeod, Daniel Winnik
Arrivals: Gabriel Landeskog, Peter Mueller (return from injury), Chuck Kobasew
Departures: Tomas Fleischmann, Philippe Dupuis, David Koci
While this has all the makings of a “+3” rating, remember that Landeskog is a rookie and you never know what you’re going to get for sure; and remember that Mueller took an entire year off so you don’t know if he will be the same player.
OVERALL RATING: +4
2011-12 Prediction: #12-#14 in Western Conference
The Colorado Avalanche made some good progress this offseason, but they are still a few players away from being in contention for a playoff spot. Their D group is too weak in the top 4 and they are lacking some offensive punch on the wing in their top 3 lines.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.