They should have been better than they were, I don't think there are too many people who would debate that idea, but they were not good and it doesn't look like the 2018 season is prepping to be anything better.
The team has some new faces, which is very important, but among the players on their roster, in the middle of the summer, they don't have one player that finished in the top 100 of hockey pool scoring last season. Nathan MacKinnon was tops on the team and he finished 102nd overall, which is an early 5th round pick in last year's draft.
No, this team continues to be hampered by more questions than answers, as we wait for suspected trades to go down and things to happen. Will they trade Matt Duchene? Who will they trade him to and what could they possibly get back? Why the hell would they sign Nail Yakupov? Who is going to play defense for this team?
If optimism is running high in Colorado, I would sure like a taste of whatever is getting them all excited. There will be some scoring, there is enough talent on this team for that, but avoiding the goaltending might be a really wise decision, unless Jonathan Bernier can assume the number one job and play out of his skin.
Table last updated on August 10th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
If the Colorado Avalanche are going to turn this ship around, they are going to try to do it within. The late season addition of 2016 1st round draft pick Tyson Jost is one of those such players that got an early look, coming out of college to make his NHL debut.
This kid will be a part of a decent rookie class, but he's still a part of the Colorado Avalanche, which likely means that his numbers may not be as good as his overall talent level may suggest they should be. The team lacks depth, but if a prime time spot could open up, if one of those rumoured trades were to drop and he could really get his chance.
I just wouldn't be jumping on many Avalanche players right about now.
First Round Picks
I don't think anyone will be beating down the door for Colorado Avalanche players when the draft goes at the end of September. The top projection belongs to Nathan MacKinnon, who is currently tied for 60th in the projections, along with 28 other players, so in a 25-team pool, he should be a 3rd round pick, at best, maybe down to a 4th rounder.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
At this point, Matt Duchene is still a part of the Avalanche and he's still projected to be pool worthy, as he is a part of one of the smaller group of forwards to be named in these posts, also including Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. Along with MacKinnon, these four will be tasked with the job of carrying this team only as far as they can take it.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
The defense is much thinner, as Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson were the only two to really stand out in the projection process. Both players are locked in for the long-term, but they could both use a little bit more help and soon.
It's a new duo to start the 2018 season, as the enigmatic Semyon Varlamov will get the now well-traveled Jonathan Bernier as his crease partner, both of whom may find themselves splitting a good portion of time, if they struggle to find a groove and string some wins together. Both goalies should work out to be worthy, just by splitting time alone.
Team To Pick From?
Well, unless you know something that we all don't know or have way more faith that this team can turn it around, I would suggest that the Avalanche are not going to be all that helpful. Newcomer Colin Wilson appears to be the closest to turning into a worthy player, but maybe Carl Soderberg, who was initially thought to be a saviour last season, will finally find his legs this season.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Avalanche are still without one of their key blueliners, who is still waiting on a new deal as a restricted free agent, Nikita Zadorov. I have Zadorov penned in for a 15-point projection this summer, which would be a pretty good add to this lineup.
I currently have the Avalanche sitting with $7.9 million in unused space with their current roster projection and it's hard to imagine that Zadorov has a leg to stand on, when it comes to some long-term negotiations, but he's probably going to want a solid piece of that pie or else he could just go back home to Russia.
Semyon Varlamov wasn't able to finish the season after getting shut down in January, due to a hip and groin problem that required surgery. The challenge for him will be two-fold, trying to make it back to 100% and to make sure he can keep his job as the number one, with new challengers coming up behind him. Tread carefully with him.