It’s been an eventful offseason for the Colorado Avalanche—for better and for worse. The moves—or, perhaps, lack thereof—have been polarizing for much of the Avs fanbase. Many took to Twitter to play armchair GM and air their grievances about the Avs’ offseason.
So I took to Avs Twitter to get a general pulse on things, posing the question: How confident are you in this season’s Avalanche based on their off-season moves? Here’s what some had to say, in what is the first installment of the Avs Fan Confidence Index:
#Avs 2021 Off-season Confidence Index:
How confident are you in this season’s Avalanche, based on off-season moves?
— Scott MacDonald (@0ffScottFree) August 1, 2021
If you log on to Avs Twitter, at times, the general off-season consensus is that this season’s team got much worse. The confidence index ranged from some slight optimism, to (mostly) sky-is-falling pessimism.
The results of the confidence index poll were about what one might expect. In total, about 59% of those polled voted that the Avs will likely see a dip from last season’s performance, while the other 41% said they’re at least on par, if not better, than last season’s Avalanche squad.
Let’s take a look at some fans’ reasonings:
Slight regression. In my opinion last year's team was THE team. Should have won. Now it's less of a "sure thing" as it was leading into last season. 2nd line needs a sufficient winger. Then I'd feel great again
— Kyle (@Kchatham88) August 1, 2021
Many in the comments agreed with Kyle here. The most common answer was that there is no clear replacement for the Avs losses in depth scoring. Here are a few examples:
Replacing secondary and tertiary scoring with loss of Donskoi and Saad
— Ding Doxy (@DDingSquared) August 1, 2021
I think losing Donskoi and Saad will hurt the team. Not seeing that any one has replaced them. That’s my biggest concern. Happy with the Kuemper deal though.
— Karen Cherrett (@KarenCherrett4) August 1, 2021
I think the loss of Saad and Donskoi hurt depth scoring. Loss of PEB on the 4th line and PK hurt, as well as leadership… only a slight question about Kuemper’s health. IF Kuemper is healthy, Byram takes a step and Newhook puts up numbers we will be fine.
— Brandon Eccles (@BEccles2007) August 1, 2021
Lack of secondary scoring. The loss of Saad and Donskoi are of concern. I’d really like to see Sakic go out and sign Tatar. Our best free agent acquisition so far is… Darren Helm.
— Welby Leger (@WelbyLeger) August 1, 2021
Depth is no longer there n scoring again will be a question with saad and donskoi gone.
— Garrett Pelak (@zlGunitlz) August 1, 2021
There were plenty more similar replies, but you get the point. Yes, the loss of Joonas Donskoi and Brandon Saad are, undoubtedly, net losses. Those two alone accounted for about 16% of the team’s total goals last season, and there really wasn’t a clear replacement-move made by GM Joe Sakic.
Bringing in Darren Helm should be viewed as a replacement for the departure of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on the fourth line. Helm is, decidedly, no longer a top-six forward.
The losses of Donskoi and Saad, and the lack of their replacements, shows that Sakic is going all-in on Alex Newhook and placing trust in him that he can be a middle-six guy at the ripe age of 20 years old. This is surely a gamble, but it’s one I’m excited to see pan out. Avs fans should be too.
But yes, still, forward depth is pretty thin, and no moves were made to shore that up either, as some were quick to point out.
Slight regression but mainly from an offensive standpoint. Lost 2 key guys in depth scoring while goaltending and d stayed about the same. Biggest question mark is the middle 6 and if Jost and Compher can step it up this year and silence their critics
— Andrew Fellhauer (@Giggly_Bits92) August 1, 2021
I’d agree with Adam here that the Avs are one key injury away from being in a bad spot. What I think this means is that guys like Martin Kaut are going to be given every opportunity to make the team this year, in what I’d say is a make-or-break season for Kaut. We might even see an appearance from Shane Bowers here and there.
Mr. Sakic is going all-in on the young guys—likely, in part, because of how affordable they are. He made mention of it during his post-trade deadline press conference back in April that his team had to push the chips in last season because of how tight things were going to be with the cap this offseason (and the necessity to re-sign his star players). He said back in April that this season’s team was going to be young. He wasn’t kidding.
I’d also agree with Andrew here that this will have to be a big year for J.T. Compher. He’ll be entrusted with more minutes and he needs to be willing to step up to the plate. Tyson Jost could even see some second-line minutes. I expect those two to be used interchangeably.
Some are not so sure about those two…
JT Compher is considered in your 2nd line. Id believe jost in top 6 before Compher. Add to that the heavy faith in a roster of AHLers and a bunch of no names. Not supposed to have roster of AHLers until injuries. Glad Timmins is gone, blue line was too many of same style player.
— Mr. Bean (@MrBean04381854) August 1, 2021
The lack of a middle-six winger and the theoretical drop-off in depth scoring that most are expecting is certainly cause for concern.
But let me remind you, that scoring really has not been an issue for this Colorado Avalanche team. The Avs have been top-10 in goals scored and goals-for per game in each of the last four seasons. Over the last four seasons combined, they’re also top-five in those two categories.
Sure, losing 16% of your goal production from last season may result in a dip in production. But am I concerned about the offense? I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Not yet at least.