Colorado, are they in trouble?

There were a lot of big free agent signings in the Northwest and a lot of big names moving out of Colorado this summer. They have a much different look than the team that could last year ice three very potent offensive lines and had one of the better defensive cores in the NHL. With the dramatic loses and with little in the way of replacements it will be interesting to see just how much the mighty will fall this year.

Gone are the days of Forsberg, Selanne and Kariya, and now are the days of Brunnette, and Turgeon. Not exactly stellar replacements, but they are proven scorers. However in a division with Vancouver and Calgary, and the newly improved Edmonton, the Avs will have no choice but to rely heavily on their top line as I don’t believe they will be having much in the way of balanced scoring. Youngsters like Svatos and Wolski will have to show a great deal of maturity and skill if the Avalanche hope rival even Minnesota in scoring. Yes the top line will provide quite a bit of offence, but not enough for all four lines. Last season they had far too many scorers and not enough roleplayers. This year they’ve reversed the trend and picked up a lot of very good roleplayers, but not much in the way of high octane skill that should dominate the new NHL.

On defence the Avs will have to rely heavily on an ever aging Blake whose injuries are beginning to catch up with him. Colorado brass will have to hope the offseason healed him well. Skrastins will also play a larger role on defense than has been asked of him in past years. He may well be up to it, but nothings certain. Beyond that they’ve brought in Brisebois to shore up the defensive hole left by Foote. Although a good acquisition Brisebois is a little lacking in the defensive side of the game. The Avs defence core is deep beyond that with Liles providing an offence punch, Vaananen defensive, Boughner, Sauer, and Leschysen rounding out the group. However these defenseman are all lower tier defenseman and not capable of bringing the high level of play Foote brought. Vaananen, if he has matured a lot over the off-season, may provide some help, but beyond that the others are all 6th or 7th defenseman or PP specialists, not well rounded top four players.

In goal the Avs have David Aebischer, and not much else. To back him up, they have Lawson and Budaj, two completely untested NHL goalies. If Aebischer struggles at all or falls to injury the Avs will be in a lot of trouble with their already high payroll. They will be relying more upon Aebischer than they have ever relied on any goalie in the past, even more so than Roy. And they will rely on him not only to succeed in the playoffs, but primarily just to get there as it will be a dogfight in their division.

I’m not optomistic at all about the chances the Avs have this year and I really think they should be planning for the future and begin rebuilding. Too many aging players that they will be relying on far too much, and too many players who they are counting on for far too much. At the ripe-old age of 36 Turgeon will be hard pressed to score 20 goals, and Brunnette just doesn’t have the skills to do it. Brisebois will be hard pressed to play a top four role effectively, and Vaananen will have to have improved a lot to do so. Lastly, and most importantly, if anything happens to Aebischer the whole team will fall apart. The have no depth beyond him. I project them to fight for the bottom with Minnesota in the Northwest and doubt very much that they will make the playoffs.

30 Responses to Colorado, are they in trouble?

  1. LongPond says:

    Yeah, I agree, Colorado is in trouble. Vancouver and Calgary are icing much better teams then The Avs this season, and one of those two will most likely take the division. Edmonton and Minnesota both have good teams too. I thin k it will be possible to beat out Minnesota, but Edmonton will be a bit more of a challenge. I think it is possible for them to do it, even with the additions of Peca and Pronger, but if they are going to make the playoffs it will be near the 6th, 7th or 8th spot. Either way, it is going to a bigger challenge than the past, especially since the key to success will be your record within your own division. Colorado certainly has their work cut out for them…. but hey, the competition only benefits the fans! SHould be one of the more entertaining divisions to watch this year.

  2. Resmo112 says:

    you’d be surprised i watched their preseason game against the wings tonight and they were completely outplayed but managed to hang on and almost win. shots were like 15 to 34 but score was only 3-2 and it was taken to overtime and the wings had like 9 power plays AND only scored on one IN OVERTIME. do i think colorado is in trouble.. yes, but i wouldn’t count them out right away they still have enough offensive pouch to really do well.

  3. dcz28 says:

    yea i watched the game too and Colorado did better then i thought they would without most of their stars not in the lineup…the rookie goalie they had wasn’t too bad

    For the Wings i thought Kronvall was very good and looked like a top 4 defenceman, Legace made some good saves and the Lang, Shanahan and Williams line create some offence but i thought Stevie looked a bit slow but with all th knee problems he’s had its a given that it will slow you down a bit…overall they had some shaky moments but most of the Wing players did good

    That was the longest shootout i’ve seen in the new NHL yet and i can’t wait to see Datsyuk in one to see what kinda moves he has now

  4. wingerxxx says:

    I actually think that the Avs will surprise a lot of people this year. Reason being…they are used to playing a lot without Forsberg and Foote and still winning. That said, I don’t consider them to be a huge favorite out west, but they still have good ingredients to succeed.

    Aebischer is a good goalie. Blake is aging, yes, but he is a supremely conditioned athlete, and has some quality years left in him. Their transition game from the blueline will be ok, with Blake, Liles and Brisebois all able to make good outlet passes. They have a glut of defensemen who can kill penalties. There are a lot of “ifs” here, but the Avs can probably have their special teams carry them to a decent finish.

  5. Sundinfan says:

    Forsberg 39 GP, 55 pts

    Selanne 78 GP, 36 pts

    Kariya 51 GP, 36 pts

    So, gone are the days of Forsberg, Selanne, and Kariya eh? Good. Forsberg hardly even played last season. Did you ever bother watching Selanne when Kariya was injured? He just didn’t have it. I mean hell, look at his stats. He piles up 36 points in 78 games. He put up double that the season before. So what exactly are the Avs losing with Selanne leaving? Not much. I’d much rather have the roleplayers than Selanne, they’re cheaper and more productive than he ever was. Kariya was good, but like Forsberg, everybody knew that he wasn’t going to be around another season for the Avs. He took a 7.8 million dollar pay cut to play for the Avs. The Avs lose Foote, and suddenly people are slamming the Avs defence. Well, for all these “lower tier” defencemen that the Avs have, as an Avs fan, I’m extremely satisfied. I think they have a solid defensive corps. I wasn’t aware that Wolski was even going to be on the roster this year, but I guess he could be. Svatos is NHL ready. He has shown an incredible ability to score, and make a name for himself even among the Avs star studded lineup from a season ago – this kid is going places. In light of all the 8-0, 7-0, 6-5, etc. games that have been occuring, what on earth makes you think that Turgeon won’t be able to 20 goals? Just watch. Scoring numbers are going to be inflated so much from a season ago that he should be able to put up that much. The Avs have a good combination of veteran leaders and youngsters which I think over the course of the season will be extremely beneficial to the team.

    Don’t count the Avs out already, we’re only 2 games into the preseason after all.

  6. Sundinfan says:

    Selanne had 32 points, not 36

  7. wingerxxx says:

    The Avs are basically replacing Foote with a few different guys, and will have the entire unit revolve around Blake. With guys like Skrastins, Vanaanen, Boughner, Lescheyen (I can’t spell his name), Sauer, etc. able to be deployed on the PK. All of those guys are fair to good Pkers. And they may not be “upper tier” defensemen, but Calgary proved that you can get away with having a defense by committee and still winning. It just depends on how bad they want it. I don’t think that they will miss Foote as much as a lot of folks think. They especially won’t miss Forsberg a lot, because they are used to him missing tons of time during the regular season.

    If Svatos can turn it up this year, the Avs really will have some bite. I think he’ll get a lot of ice time to start the regular season with Hejduk’s injury.

  8. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Selanne and Kariya where only there for one season, and neither really did that much. Loading up with those guys was supposed to give Colorado a sick level of offence, but it didn’t work out that way. Injuries and poor play made them basically a non-factor, so they’re not losing much by not having those two around. Sure, in the ‘new’ NHL those guys would probably have better years than they did in Colorado, but still, losing them isn’t going to kill the Avs. Turgeon isn’t that bad. I watched alot of him in Dallas, and while he didn’t live up to expectations, he showed signs of his old self from time to time. He’s not the player he used to be, but he’s solid, and will give the Avs at least what Kariya did.

    Losing Forsberg hurts. He was hurt alot, but still, he’s Forsberg. You’re better off having him than not having him, so his loss is a big one. They still have Sakic, Hedjuk and Tanguay. I think Tanguay is in a similar situation to Simon Gagne in Philly, where he’s always had the skill and talent, and now he’s going to have to take on a bigger role. Offence shouldn’t be a problem. Losing Forsberg definitey hurts, but Kariya and Selanne were non-factors anyway and the Avs were pretty good regardless.

    I like Brisebois. I didn’t think he was as bad at alot of other people did. I think being out of Montreal will help him out. Less pressure on him, not under the spot light, not having everyone in the building booing him and waiting for him to make a mistake.

    The Avs will make the playoffs. I don’t think they’re going to be as good as they were in the past, but they had been heading in that direction for awhile now anyway.

  9. wingerxxx says:

    Brisebois takes a lot of garbage for not being a physical defenseman. Well that is just not his game. It never was. The truth of the matter is that he has evolved into being a fairly steady guy in his own end. He doesn’t make the boneheaded plays that he used to be prone to. He won’t replace Foote, but he’s not supposed to. He really will help the Avs transition game.

  10. Freeze says:

    The AVs are entering a rebuilding phase and it’s likely that they will finish in the middle of the pack or below this season. It will take them a while to rebound since they traded away many draft picks along the way to acquire established stars. The problem is that their superstars have huge salaries and you can’t move them. Besides, I doubt Colorado would ever think of moving someone like Sakic.

    Pierre LaCroix made some pretty bad moves that would have doomed Colorado even without the new salary cap – too much mortgaging of the future for success today.

    I see Colorado struggling for several years to come.

  11. fatsat says:

    They have Brisebois now – Of course they are in trouble. Thank Gawd he finally left Montreal…

  12. muckies says:

    the day Patrick Roy retired, this team was going noplace

  13. Hollywood666 says:

    Don’t forget about Tanguay and Hejduk, the Avs will remain competitive, although their downgraded defense and goaltending could be an issue.

  14. OldGoalie says:

    “I’d much rather have the roleplayers than Selanne, they’re cheaper and more productive than he ever was.” All I can say is “be careful what you wish for.” Having watched a great team become a decent team, then an awful team populated by “roleplayers” here in Pittsburgh, it’s really, really frustrating. At best.

    That having been said, though, Colorado is an interesting team to me this year. Lacroix always impressed me with his ability to pull off exactly the right personnel moves, seemingly at will. Now, a lot of that was due to the franchise’s ability to pay for thwat they traded for, but I always got the impression that he was pretty adept at building a team and wasn’t simply buying players just to buy them (like the Rangers did). It seemed to me in ’03-’04 that they got away from this, started buying guys just to have them, and paid the price (both in unproductive seasons from Selanne & Co. and in the playoffs).

    This year, they definitely will look different…but there’s a lot to like about that team, even now. Aebischer appears to have realized that he’s no longer overshadowed by one of the truly great goaltenders, and turned in an outstanding statistical season last time out. They’ve got one spectacular offensive line, and another solid one. The defense is I think more than competent…Blake is Blake…I think John Michael Liles has the potential to have a really nice year…and so on.

    The devil, for this team as I see it, is in the details. What are they going to get out of the guys like McLean and Svatos? Can Laperriere up his goal total to 15 or maybe a few more in the new NHL? Instead of 21 or so minutes per game from Skrastins, can they maybe get 25-26 quality minutes? Can veterans like Boughner and Leschyshyn adapt and be trusted not to take a ton of penalties if you give them the same ice time or maybe a minute or two more here and there?

    Don’t get me wrong…I think Vancouver is going to be very difficult to beat this year, Calgary showed that they are more than capable of playing with the rest of the league, and Edmonton might turn out to be a nightmare to play depending on how things break for them. But if Colorado gets a break with some or most of the question mark issues, I can see them in the playoffs, and if they do make it, I don’t think anyone in the West will wake up on the day that the pairings get locked in and say “oh, good, we get to play Colorado…”

  15. raine_kalisz says:

    I also thik Blake is an extremely well conditioned and very capable athlete, but you can’t really prevent something like a broken leg. His bones are probably a little more brittle than they have been in the past, and that’s what I see as being a problem for him in the future, recurring knee and hip injuries.

  16. raine_kalisz says:

    I’m not denying his abilities, not at all. Offensively he’s great to have with a big shot and a smooth transitional pass. The only thing is with him I see when the pressure goes up at all physically he tends to get into trouble with his stick and in the new NHL that won’t fly. He learned to play defensively without being very physical but he learned it through obstruction plays and the covert hooks that you could get away with in the old NHL. I think he’s going to have a lot of trouble in the new NHL playing his type of defensive game and I think Gainey also saw that and was forced to let him go.

  17. raine_kalisz says:

    Their defense isn’t their biggest worry. In the new NHL I think they can get away with a D core that skimps a little on the physical play. It’s their offensive depth that should be their biggest concern. Beyond their first line they don’t have much that can make a serious impact. Turgeon and Brunnette can’t supply the firepower that a Kariya and Selanne will bring in the new NHL. There are far too many defensive roleplayers, like Konowalchuk, that can’t supply much in the way of goal scoring. Also they have far too many defensemen that are going to be healthy scratches. They have 9 defensemen that can potentially be regulars and none of them beyond Blake are top level, top four defensemen. A few may be able to play as a top four defensemen, but they won’t do as good a job as other teams defence cores can do.

  18. raine_kalisz says:

    I’d much rather have a Pronger-Staios-Smith-Semenov-Ulanov-Cross-Bergeron than a Blake-Brisebois-Liles-Skrastines-Vaananan-Boughner-Sauer-Leschysen. I’d also rather have Regehr-Hamrlik-Leopold-Warrener-Ference-Phaneuf-Montador-Regehr, or a Jovo-Ohlund-Salo-Allen-McCarthy-Bieska-Koltsov-Baumgartner or even a Kuba-Schultz-Zyuzin-Mitchell-Tjarnqvist-Burns. Well maybe not, but it’s comparable to Colorado. Although Blake is better than their number one defenseman the next give all go to Minnesota, except for maybe Burns, I haven’t seen enough of him to judge it.

  19. Shevy says:

    Youve gotta be kidding. Colorado doesnt know what the word rebuiilding is. They basically replenished their system this year with the steals they got handed to them at the draft, and they have guys like svatos, liles who are ready to drop jaws in the nhl. Turgeon before he wentto dallas put up 60+ points, now on a 2nd line, and a PP so lethal as Colorados his numbers will sky rocket. Our defense revolves around blake liles for the energy and scoring, brisebois is gonna rack up assists and then skrastins boughner sauer and vaananen will round up our corps with Lyschysen(sp?) alternating with sauer or vaananen. Yes we lost Forsberg, but what other team can crank out a line like Sakic, Hejduk and Tanguay except for the obvious Tampa. Colorado is not rebuilding, people do not understand that we just lost 2 players. Kariya and Selanne werent gonna get an offer to come back, and Svatos had already filled in for Selanne on the 2nd line when he cam back last year. Wolski signed as well, so thats Kariyas spot. So we only really lost Foote and Forsberg. Not the best thing you want, but its not that bad. Forsberg was good for half the season, if your an avs fan you were on the edge of your seat each time he missed a shift or took a bad fall, its the kinda player he is, but for 50 games he was terrific. Footes the biggest loss because he has been the backbone of our team for as long as i can remember. Plays injured, gives 100% and even punishes goons who attack our guys. He is a guy that you would like as a captain and its a huge loss for us, and thats the biggest thing for us to cope with.

  20. Shevy says:

    if your not an avs fan and havent watched the games you have no idea how our not so well known guys are. Its like me telling you that semenov and ulanov are garbage…i havent seen as many games as an oilers fan so i wouldnt know how good they really are. However Calgary has likley the best defense in the Division.

  21. wingerxxx says:

    Once all of these units play together during the regular season, we’ll know for sure how they will stack up. Blake is one of the premier defensemen in the league, so it’s hard to pick against a unit anchored by him. And he’s surrounded by some very dependable blueliners. The Colorado defense could be in much worse shape. Calgary’s defense could be the true standout there though.

  22. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    They will do fine Brunette got 49 points on the traptastic TEAM Minnesota he will be used to play on the first line till hejduk gets back. and we have a great group of young players Hejduk Tanguay svatos wolski and hejduk is the oldest and he is 28??? for d we have liles, Boychuck, vaananen, Sauer and the oldest is vaananen who is 26. Colorado will not be fighting for the bottom edmonton and minnesota will edmonton doesnt have a goalie remember that.

  23. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    Colorado has prospects though and good ones for that matter. our scouts are good but not compared to the likes of new jersey philly the islanders(even though they never keep there players)

  24. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    2.09 gaa for aebischer last year ummm i think colorado is going somewhere

  25. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    you guys are all forgetting pierre lacroixs deadline deals. ok so he did not do that good in the off season ok no big deal. at the deadline he will do good. and besides you can take that defence so what i hate to break it to you injuries happen. what happens when those teams lose a dman or 2 thats in there top 4 and colorado hasnt lost any yet. you still want those dman now?

  26. Avalanchesakic19 says:

    I see it this way .. and im not say everyone but Canadians HATE THE AVALANCHE!!! ever since we took a team away from the great north you have hated us for winning cup for being one of the best teams in the league and all i have to say is keep crying. and for the guy who said he saw the game last night and we did look good .. buddy 6 starter dident play .. all I have to say is the AVS still rule and will still be good out off season pick ups were for the good of the team and anyone who hates us .. Bite ME !

  27. dcz28 says:

    I would put Ottawa and Detroit in the great scouts group too

  28. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    yea thats true ottawa gets all these good picks in the late rounds. detroit gets some good ones aswell.

  29. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    finally someone agrees.

  30. DannyAvsRock says:


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