The Colorado Avalanche look a little different compared to the end of their Stanley Cup run. So what can we expect for the projected lines and roster next month? There were quite a few departures from the team so let me start by going over those first.
The biggest key departure from the Avs has to be, without a doubt Nazem Kadri. Playing second line center for the majority of the year, he was a key feature in the offense. He was a driving force in the playoffs despite missing some time due to a thumb injury. His presence and and 87 points will be sorely missed by the fans and the Avs. Andre Burakovsky will be another departure that will be missed in the points department. When he was on, he was on, using that snappy wrister to earn 61 points last year. Being two-thirds of the second line doesn’t help either.
I know there was a love/hate relationship with Darcy Kuemper (I liked him personally) but his ability to pull wins out will also be missed. Kuemper had 37 wins despite injuries and COVID last season. There were some points where he was one of the top goalies in the league. Last but not least (don’t laugh), Jack Johnson. he went into training camp fighting for a PTO and ended up being the utility man for the Avs at defense. Once the season was said and done, Johnson played a respectable 74 out of 82 games for the team. I thought he was one of the best stories through the year, fighting for a chance to stay in the league and then to win the Cup in what everyone thought to be his last year.
The biggest addition this off-season would have to be former Pittsburgh Penguin Evan Rodrigues. He had a breakout year, filling in spots for the injured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Rodrigues played anywhere from fourth line to second line and played some wing in the process as well. Playing in all 82 games this last year for Pittsburgh, he gained a career high 43 points. He averaged just under 16 minutes in ice time a night, all while winning 47.4 percent of his faceoffs. Rodrigues will be a key addition to the second line for the Colorado Avalanche this season.
Alexandar Georgiev was the biggest splash that the Avalanche made in the trade market this summer. The Avalanche traded three draft picks for Georgiev. He holds a .908 career save percentage and allows just under three goals per game. Pushed to the backup role when Igor Shesterkin started playing well for the New York Rangers, Georgiev asked to be traded. He plays a very similar game to Henrik Lundqvist, in that he likes to kick the puck out to the corners. The Avalanche defense will have to make some adjustments to it, but he will be a great addition to the club.
|13 Val Nichushkin||29 Nathan MacKinnon||96 Mikko Rantanen|
|92 Gabriel Landeskog||9 Evan Rodrigues||62 Artturi Lehkonen|
|18 Alex Newhook||37 J.T. Compher||25 Logan O’Connor|
|11 Andrew Cogliano||59 Ben Meyers||43 Darren Helm|
|7 Devon Toews||8 Cale Makar|
|49 Samuel Girard||42 Josh Manson|
|4 Bowen Byram||6 Erik Johnson|
|40 Alaxandar Georgiev|
|39 Pavel Francouz|
The projected lines will look very similar to how the season ended last year just with a couple of gaps filled in. The defense has not changed at all, just the extra man that will get called up during an injury, The first line will stay the same as it ended the year, as will the the second. All in all, the Colorado Avalanche have a strong lineup and it will be something that can compete for another playoff run again this year.