The 2022-2023 campaign was a disappointing return to reality for the Colorado Avalanche, but they learned and look primed to do some damage this season.
After doing a little bit of housekeeping this offseason, the Avalanche were able to shore up certain positions and some great value in the process.
These changes have vaulted the Colorado Avalanche to the top of the latest NHL betting odds to start the season.
Not only is the team healthy, outside of captain Gabriel Landeskog, but they’ve improved at key positions that could bode well for the rigors of a full NHL season.
Strength Up the Middle
By letting go of J.T. Compher, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings, and Alex Newhook, who was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, the Avalanche went in another direction to bolster their center depth.
They acquired Ryan Johansen from the Nashville Predators, allowing them a certain flexibility in their top-six. Johansen may not be the 60-point center he used to be, but he is sure to be of service to the Avalanche in a second-line role with more offensive deployment.
The Avalanche didn’t stop there, getting themselves some insurance at center with the acquisition of Ross Colton from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 27-year-old has a Stanley Cup under his belt and a wealth of playoff experience to go with exceptional two-way play and a physical style of play.
It gives the club some breathing room to have two established centers to play behind Nathan MacKinnon throughout the season, but they’ll also have some help on the wings to keep each of the club’s top-three lines competitive.
Although he may have taken a lot of flack for his play with the Montreal Canadiens, snagging Jonathan Drouin at near league-minimum salary will likely prove to be a value deal on Day 1.
The skilled winger went through a slew of wrist injuries and faced significant pressure from the fanbase throughout his six years in Montreal, and perhaps a change of scenery, where he isn’t expected to a star, will help him find his game again.
His powerplay prowess and playmaking ability are still in tip-top shape, and his known chemistry with former Halifax Moosehead teammate, Nathan MacKinnon could possibly revive some of the fire in his game.
Then there’s the recent addition of Tomas Tatar at $1.5M just a few weeks ago, which is one of the best bargains of the offseason for an experienced top-9 player who could jump into a top-six role in a pinch.
Tatar has been one of the better 5-on-5 players in the league over the last four years, be it with the New Jersey Devils or Montreal Canadiens. He’s able to hold multiple roles and provides some necessary skill and secondary scoring to the wings.
Energized and Ready to Roll
With the Colorado Avalanche having revamped their forward depth, the odds of them establishing themselves as a power in the Western Conference are quite high.
If they can remain healthy this season, the club is well-positioned to keep pace with the other powers in the league, and, should the injury bug hit, they now have the versatility to plug some of those holes in more efficient ways.
Let the games begin.
*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel.