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What Can The Avalanche Learn From The Final Four Playoff Teams?



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Last season, every team that didn’t win the Stanley Cup took a look at what the Colorado Avalanche had built, and wondered how they could do the same.

This year, the Avalanche are in the other boat. They’re out, and like most of the league, are taking a look at the final four playoff teams and seeing if there’s anything they can learn from them.

So is there? I think any smart office can find something they can take from these teams. I picked out a few things the Avalanche could certainly pick up on as they are planning their offseason.

Depth, Depth, Depth

Lack of depth is why Colorado didn’t advance past the Seattle Kraken in round one. Plenty of depth is a big reason why some of these teams are still playing.

Look at the Carolina Hurricanes, for example. They lost Andrei Svechnikov before the playoffs even started, and lost Teuvo Teravainen (who has since returned) in round one to a broken hand. They’ve been forced to use three different goalies in this run. None of that has even mattered. All of the 11 forwards they’ve dressed in the playoffs are averaging over 11 minutes a game. That’s a team that has depth, and trusts it.

The Vegas Golden Knights are four lines deep up front. They’ve dressed 14 forwards during this playoff run, and they haven’t been afraid to play them. That’s what Colorado was lacking come playoff time. Endless injuries took their toll, but even before then, they were heavily dependent on the top six. You need to be able to run four lines in the playoffs to get far.


A lot of people tell me the Avalanche need to go after Sam Bennett this summer. I guess the cap may impact the Panthers, but I’m not sure why they’d deal him, of all players. The biggest reason people want him is because he’s a skilled center who is a total pain to play against. He’s racking up points while getting under the skin of his opponents. Then you have Matthew Tkachuk, who is on an entirely different level. Throw in a guy like Radko Gudas on the blueline, and you can see why the Panthers have been a tough out.

The same goes for the Dallas Stars. We all know Jamie Benn is annoying, but they went out and got Mason Marchment (maybe overpaid) this summer to get under the opponents skin every night. That team plays physical and hard on a nightly basis.

Injuries impacted Colorado’s ability to do that. Josh Manson, who is their nastiest defenseman, was not anywhere close to 100% in the playoffs, and it showed. Gabriel Landeskog won’t be an option next year, and guys like Erik and Jack Johnson might be hitting free agency. Finding some more size and physical play may be necessary this summer to round out the team, on top of adding much needed skill.

Don’t Panic Too Much

The biggest thing I would say – there’s no need to panic. Just look at some of these teams still playing. You never know when you’re going to get over that hump (again).

Dallas has had much of the same core, save for Jason Robertson, for several years. Many of those players are already “aging out” of their prime, but yet, here they are. They’re a perfect example of just never knowing when the window actually closes. Some players getting older doesn’t mean they’re going to become useless.

Carolina has relied on much of the same players at important positions as well, with some tweaks here and there. Vegas missed the playoffs last year, but we all know injuries played a huge role in that. Now, they’re healthy and rolling. Just a month ago, when Florida was down 3-1 to Boston, people were wondering if it’s time for the Panthers to think about moving Alex Barkov. They went out and got Tkachuk over the summer, but had to give up some top talent to get him. It’s paid off.

You can fill in holes here and there, but it’s very difficult to find elite talent. The Avalanche have that already. They’ve got some holes to fill around those guys, but the most difficult part is already done.

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Glendon Gulliver

I think those are all lessons the Avs learned last year, but just didn’t have this year. They had the depth and the big somewhat nasty players last year. What the Avs need to do this offseason is get that back. Last summer the Avs let go Kadri, Burakovsky, Sturm, Aube-Kubel, and Jack Johnson. The only one they really tried to replace was Aube-Kubel. That was with Sedlak and then Hunt. When Landeskog and Helm did not start the season, the team was already behind in depth. Going into the trade deadline, the thought was that Florida might need to… Read more »


One thing you failed to mention, is that the Av alanche Don’t take care of the puck, they are recreckless with it? This ends up in easy type lay Up goals for the other team or guys just walking right down the slot for a prime scoring chance. You can’t expect Georgiev to have a chance at stopping those! So, this is a bad habit the team has had for at least the last 5 years!!! This is something the team’s left don’t do like the Avalanche

Brad Jacobs

I keep hearing this narrative on lack of depth from last season, but for me it’s almost solely due to injuries and incorrect recovery timelines. If healthy in the post season our bottom 6 would have been Newy/Eller/Erod on the 3rd and the identical 4th from last year of Cogs/Helm/LOC. That would have left Nieto/Malgin and Ben Meyers as depth. Defensively, the top 7 were the exact same players from last year with Hunt as an 8th. Obviously that isn’t where your article focused. The organization obviously missed the mark on the Landy return, never got Manson or Helm back… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

“If healthy…” That is what every team says! Tampa is still yelling that had Point been healthy, they would have won the cup last year. They refuse to admit, however, that the counterpoint to that is that the Avs were not healthy either. The Avs had the depth to win the cup when Kadri and Cogliano missed games due to broken fingers, Girard was lost the final 13 games, and Burakovsky only played 12 games due to a broken foot. Depth was the key. The Avs lack of depth was evident throughout the season. Yes, it was unexpected to lose… Read more »

Brad Jacobs

Avs had the money to choose between Val and Kadri, couldn’t keep both. Provided Val returns they made the right call. Burky got $6.5m AAV, they replaced him for $2m with ERod and were still butting up against the cap until the LTIR for Landy. I think keeping Burky and not signing Manson long term was worth a discussion, but “replacing the scoring” isn’t happening within the cap space we had. Burky and Kadri cost $9.4m combined, no way you are replacing 149 points for that value and signing Nate and Cale to huge extensions.

Glendon Gulliver

The cap is a huge factor. Looking back and second guessing decisions is trying to rewrite history and not facing the reality of how things work. Kadri and Burakovsky had the best years ever last year. Kadri only had 56 points in 82 games this year. Nichushkin had 47 points in 53 games or 72 pts/82 game pace. Only last year did Kadri ever have that type of year. The best pace Burakovsky ever had was a 68 point/82 game pace in 2020-21. If we want to second guess every trade on what would be better is not realistic. It… Read more »


What I’ve learned from watching Florida is what a simple, straightforward game they play. The always seem to be moving the puck forward and when the zone entry isnt there they throw it to the boards and go try to win a puck battle. If they get bottled up in their zone they throw it over the top or are even content to ice it. They don’t have great puck moving D to throw the puck back to like the Avs but it forces them to play a very simple game that’s a joy to watch when it’s clicking.

Glendon Gulliver

I believe it was Florida last year that I first heard the phrase “chip and chase.” When you cannot skate it out of your zone, just chip it ahead and have your speedy forwards chase it down. That is something the Avs need to do more of. Too often, they try to skate it through too many opposing players in their own zone and lose the puck, instead of just chipping it ahead.


For the “chip and chase” to work, we need tenacious forecheckers. Think Landy, Val and Lehky. And only one was available to us…

Glendon Gulliver

It worked a year ago when the bottom 6 were Newhook-Compher-Aube-Kubel and Cogliano-Helm-O’Connor. The Avs just did not have that bottom 6 this year or the desire to commit to the forecheck.


Well, we still have LOC. A small piece, but no real comfort…


The thing is, FLA has been thoroughly outplayed in most of their playoff games. If you’re looking for a factor, the answer is Bobrovsky. If it weren’t for him, Matthew Tkachuk would golfing instead of scoring game winning OT goals…

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