Team: Colorado Avalanche
They finished in 9th place, but were in it until the bitter end, finishing just five points back of a playoff spot. They had 82 points last year. How sad is that? Basically the only reason they had a chance at making the postseason was because the Minnesota Wild are that awful. But they're still worse than the Wild. I don't even have a punchline here. This is just depressing.
Your Head Coach
Nobody! That's right! For the first time in writing these previews, a team doesn't have a head coach at the time of publication! I can't criticize this decision by the Avs, though; four monkeys fornicating a football would probably run a better power play than the last guy.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: the preceding paragraph was written before the Avs hired Jared Bednar. But, seeing as nobody in the hockey world has even heard of that guy, the preceding content might as well stand.)
The last guy, by the way, was Patrick Roy. And he wasn't fired; he voluntarily resigned. If there's two things Roy knows, it's: (1) pulling a goalie way too early; and, (2) quitting on his team. I mean, he also knows showboating, domestic abuse, and trying to brawl opposing coaches, but for the sake of brevity, let's limit this to two things.
Roy resigned because he was unhappy he didn't have more input in major personnel decisions. In short, he quit the team, in all likelihood, because they wouldn't ship out one of their players who are....y'know, good. Wow. A front office choosing good players over a bad coach? That won't fly for Ol Patty. He should make amends in Montreal; it seems like an ideal destination for him to ruin.
Your Starting Goalie
Semyon Varlamov, who looks increasingly like a guy that lives in an RV and doesn't wear deodorant because it's "unnatural."
Here is a goaltender who looks like he has just given up. And it shows on the statline, too. He was a fairly average .914 last season after two Vezina-calibre years prior to that. That's bad news, seeing as the Avs being good was basically predicated on him stopping 50 shots a night.
Backing him up is Calvin Pickard, who I keep confusing with Chet Pickard. Is that even a real person? Are they the same person? Did I dream one of these two people up? We may never know.
New Things That Suck
My god, this team had the most boring offseason ever, didn't it? I mean, but for their coach ragequitting the team, this was a snoozer of an offseason. Here is a list of players they signed: Joe Colborne, Fedor Tyutin, and Patrick Wiercioch. They also acquired Rocco Grimaldi, who will now be spared from South Florida women who dress too immodestly because it's always like 40C out.
After humming and hawing over trading Tyson Barrie- which would've been hilarious- they ended up keeping him for a reasonable price tag of $5.5MM a season through 2020. I'd like to take this opportunity to note this same team is paying Erik Johnson $500,000 more a season until 2023. Erik Johnson plays defense like I do on NHL 16: not really. He has more trouble handling opposing forwards than he does golf carts.
Also, I still can't figure out if possession metrics tell us that Tyson Barrie is elite or terrible. I keep hearing both at the same time. He's Schroedinger's Corsi.
Things That Still Suck
Is this team really even relevant anymore? They were one of the most popular teams in the mid 90s to early 2000s, but that's all kinda fizzled out now. This is why you don't bandwagon as a kid; you get to enjoy the fruits of frontrunning an excellent dynasty through your childhood, only to have it screw up your entire adult life. Since I've been in my twenties (2007), the Avs have made the postseason just three times, winning one playoff series. Put it this way: the much more futile Rockies have won more playoff series in that time, and they did that all in 2007.
You've gone from a team that was talk of the town to a mediocre shell of a has-been that no one talks about anymore. Your front office nepotism and decision to hire Roy in the first place is a sign that you can't get past your glory days. You're that guy who peaked in high school. You don't matter anymore; you're a more decorated Miami Dolphins with a slightly worse colour scheme.
It really isn't all that surprising, either. This team has had talented centres grow on trees, and ran one out of town and let the other go to free agency because they needed room for John Mitchell. They couldn't find space for either Ryan O'Reilly or Paul Stastny, but had no issues with being able to fork over $4.75MM a season for Carl Soderberg and $4.5MM for Francois Beauchemin.
And Jarome Iginla is still here? Oh, dear lord, that's just tragic. Iginla had some of his worst offensive totals since joining this sad team. Last year was his lowest point total since 1998. He just deserves better than this. Please just let Iggy go. Let him end his career with some dignity. No one is going to want to remember that he ever played here. I think we should all just agree it never happened.
Why You Might Not Suck
Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Barrie is one decent core if you can get a good season from Varlamov. That's hard to beat on a good day. You might even catch Minnesota this year!