2018 Colorado Avalanche Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
As they have the tendency to do, the Avalanche surprised last year. They felt like a team deep in an endless rebuild, but they rose up to grab the final playoff spot in the tough West and then played Nashville very tough through six games in the first round. It was more than they could have hoped for. On top of it, they managed an absolute steal of a trade, dealing away Matt Duchene for a haul that included what is very likely to be a lottery pick from Ottawa in the coming NHL Draft. Now it remains to be seen if they can maintain the momentum. Or, as accurately, if Nathan MacKinnon, who truly stamped himself as one of the best players in the league last year, can carry this team again.
Colorado Avalanche Offseason Moves
Through free agency, the team added Matt Calvert and Ian Cole, who both are reasonably-priced veteran presences. They don't excite. But I don't hate the moves, either. They shuffled things in net, and this could be a positive not just now but going forward. Jonathan Bernier, who ably backed up Semyon Varlamov last year, moved on to Detroit. For a surprisingly reasonable cost of a second-round pick and the willingness to take Brooks Orpik and buy him out, the team replaced Bernier with Philipp Grubauer, the backup in Washington who was coveted by many teams. If he plays well in Colorado then the team could embrace him as their future and deal Varlamov while there is still value.
Aside from Calvert and Cole, the rest of the roster shuffling was just a
case of moving bit parts in and out. The draft can't be expected to have
any immediate impact, as their first pick, Czech winger Martin Kaut, didn't
come until 16th. He'll need time. Last year's top pick, defenseman Cale
Makar, who went fourth overall, is a guy I am really excited about after
seeing him play junior close to my home several times, but he has chosen to
return to school for another year, so patience is required here.
The team has mountains of cap space remaining - well above $20 million for the coming season - so they could conceivably be active, though it's hard to know what they are thinking on that front.
Colorado Avalanche NHL Outlook
Last year it was all about MacKinnon lifting those around him and shooting with incredible efficiency as well as the goalies carrying all of their load and a little more. I think MacKinnon will again come through, though everything went his way, and the way of those who played with him, and the luck factor might not be quite as positive this year. I like the goaltending tandem a whole lot, and that helps, but the depth is still a question, and the West is tougher this year than last year. Last year they had a good season, but it frankly felt very circumstantial that they made the postseason - they did just enough as several good teams had bad years. If Calgary, Dallas, L.A., Edmonton and others improve then it's tougher to see this team keeping up given their offseason and their depth.
Colorado Avalanche Schedule
This team really gets tested out of the gates. After opening at home against Minnesota and Philadelphia, which will both be challenging games, they then go on the road for six of the next seven, with only a potentially tough home game against the Flames to break it up. And then they close out their first 10 by hosting Tampa Bay, the best team in the league on paper. We will have the advantage of really finding out early on what this team is made of.
Colorado Avalanche NHL Futures Odds
At +4000 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada , this team finds them tied with New Jersey and behind 19 other teams. Hardly elite territory. The season win total is set at 90.5. Nathan MacKinnon is the sixth choice to win the Hart Trophy as MVP at +1500, tied with a group that includes Mark Scheifele and Nikita Kucherov and is just ahead of defending winner Taylor Hall at +1600.
2017-18 Colorado Avalanche Predictions
I don't think that they are a playoff team this year, but I don't think that that is a problem. They are going to get a high pick from Ottawa, and they should add another lottery pick of their own. Add two high-level players to the youngsters in their system already, and combine that with the cap space, and you have a team that is in good shape moving forward. I lean towards the "under" on the season win total, but don't see massive value in it. If the coaching was worse then I would be more enthusiastic, but this is a well-led team.
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