Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Colorado Avalanche Season Review

Losing Gabriel Landeskog early in the season derailed this Avalanche team before it could pick up momentum. They played some very strong games, but could not sustain any success for any significant duration. Matt Duchene re-established himself in the upper echelon of NHL players, but his supporting staff was woefully insufficient. PA Parenteau proved to be a great signing, and was the 2nd best player on the roster. Losing Steve Downie for the season significantly diminished their team toughness, but ultimately the forward position was not this team's biggest problem. Paul Stastny continued to steal his $6.6M, but that robbery will only last 1 more season.

The whole drama with Ryan O'Reilly was ridiculous. They backed up the Brinks truck to re-sign David Jones, but then nickel and dimed O'Reilly, who is unquestionably the better player? Just because they got Duchene to jump on a low ball offer like Kramer in that one episode of Seinfeld, doesn't mean they should have locked out O'Reilly until he accepted the same deal, especially considering this team was nowhere near the salary cap. When Jay Feester finally extended that offer sheet, Colorado quickly matched and O'Reilly scored 20 PTS in 29 GP, going on to play for Team Canada instead of going to Las Vegas with many of his Colorado teammates.

The future does not look as bright as it once did for Erik Johnson, who had a very disappointing season. Jan Hejda was their best defenseman, and that ain't saying much. Show me a blueline anchored by Hejda and Zanon, and I'll show you a team that sucks, regardless of who they have at forward. Their greatest weakness is on the blueline, which is why Seth Jones will be the number one pick in the draft. JS Giguere and Semyon Varlamov return for another year in the net (hardly exciting), but if the Avs decide to make a deal to upgrade their goaltending, they have plenty of quality young assets to offer.

Preseason Rank: 17th
Midseason Rank: 26nd
Final Rank: 29th
GM Grade: F

1st Star: Matt Duchene
2nd Star: PA Parenteau
3rd Star: Gabriel Landeskog

UFAs: Milan Hejduk, Chuck Kobasew, Pat Bordeleau, Sean Sullivan
RFAs: Brad Malone, Tom Vincour, Aaron Palushaj

Best Contract: Matt Duchene 1 more year at $3.5M
Worst Contract: David Jones 3 more years at $4M

What I said about them in preseason: Loads of potential, but this might be a season too soon for the Avalanche. Landeskog is a stud. How good this team actually performs depends much on Semeon Varlamov and Erik Johnson. If those two are big, this team could make some noise.


Coach Joe Sacco has been fired, most likely because of the JS Giguere rant late in the season about how the team had given up and checked out, though it could be argued that management was equally responsible for the team's futility this season (even if it did pay off and win the Avs the #1 pick in the draft). They will be more than happy to add Seth Jones to this team next season, a team that will once again boast a very talented group of young players.With the first pick in the draft, there is a 99% chance that they will draft Seth Jones (no matter what Nick Kypreos says).

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