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Colorado Avalanche

Revisiting Those Avalanche Preseason Predictions



Avalanche Georgiev

Back in October, I made predictions for every single player on the Colorado Avalanche (at the time). When you put predictions out into the world, you run the risk of looking very smart, or very, very dumb.

I would like to think things evened out a bit here, but I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

Here’s a link to all of the predictions I made right before the Avalanche opened their season up in Los Angeles. I’ll include them all in bold below and go over just how right or wrong I was. And yes, there’s a fair bit of both.

Pavel Francouz

Sadly, I think he’s played his last game in an Avalanche uniform. The off-season surgery didn’t seem to fix the issue, and he’s now dealing with “injuries.” There’s no update on his status, and he’s been placed on LTIR.

I don’t think I really went out on a limb here. Unfortunately, Francouz announced his retirement today. Best of luck to him and his family in retirement!

Ivan Prosvetov

We don’t see him play a game in the NHL for a month, because Jussi Parkkila will want to work with him in practice. From there, the team eases him into the backup role, and he does a fine job.

I was…kind of right? Prosvetov was claimed on waivers in early October, but didn’t get a start until November 1. He didn’t get a ton of action after that, and I didn’t mind him all that much on the ice. However, his last start was such a disaster that the Avalanche cut the cord and recalled Annunen.

Justus Annunen

Given the light Avalanche schedule in the first month of the season, he only gets one start, struggles, and spends the majority of the season honing his game with the Colorado Eagles.

Annunen didn’t even get a shot to start the year with the team, and he did spend the majority of the season with the Eagles, but it’s safe to say he’s beaten out my prediction. There’s a very real chance he plays in the postseason for the Avalanche.

Alexandar Georgiev

Last year was not a fluke. Georgiev does it again, showing he’s a legit starting goaltender in the NHL. The Avalanche even find a way to give him some breaks later in the season, as he gets a few more nights off (let’s say, 57 starts).

Remember when I said some predictions can make you look very dumb? Yeah, Georgiev definitely didn’t come close to what I had predicted. His workload was almost identical to last season, but his play took a huge dip. Ahead of the series with Winnipeg, he’s the biggest question mark.

Cale Makar

Whatever he’s dealt with over the summer continues to linger, and at one point in the season, he’s shut down for a little bit to make sure he’s healthy for the playoffs. The thing is, 80-90% Cale Makar is better than most defensemen in the league, so he still produces at a point-per-game pace.

Makar was never shut down, and claims he isn’t dealing with something, but everyone suspects otherwise. I don’t think Makar had the season he expected, especially defensively, but I got the point-per-game part correct. He was well over a point-per-game, actually.

Devon Toews

Toews has another great year, but no contract extension is signed, leaving the Avalanche with a huge question mark heading into next summer.

I wouldn’t say he had a great year, and an extension was completed about three days after this article was published, so didn’t get that one right.

Samuel Girard

Girard picks up right where he left off last season, playing well at both ends of the ice, and showing his value when some of the other defensemen miss time.

I’m going to claim a win here. Girard had a really strong year after coming back from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Now the question is whether or not he’ll be healthy when the playoffs start.

Bowen Byram

Doesn’t quite play a full season, but gets pretty darn close, surpassing the 70 game mark for the first time in his career, making everyone feel a little better if Toews doesn’t get extended.

Byram did surpass the 70 game mark for the first time in his career. It’s just that a chunk of those games came with the Buffalo Sabres. I don’t think his play would have made anyone feel better if Toews would have left, though.

Josh Manson

Plays a lot more games than last season, but the Avalanche are careful with how much they play him, giving him nights off to make sure he’s ready to go when the playoffs roll around. His physical presence proves to be very valuable for the blueline.

Partial credit? Manson didn’t get a ton of nights off and had his healthiest season in over five years. His physical presence was very valuable to the team, and will be very necessary against Winnipeg.

Jack Johnson

The decline is real, as the wear and tear of a long NHL career really starts to take its toll on him. As the season goes on, he’s given nights off, and at the deadline, the team goes out and acquires a defenseman to push him to a purely depth role.

Johnson exceeded my expectations this year, but I do think there was a dip in his play late in the season. The Avalanche not giving him any nights off is one of quarrels from this season. They could have used Caleb Jones a bit more than they did.

Riley Tufte

The great preseason doesn’t carry over into the regular season, as his defensive deficiencies force the staff to look for other options in a depth role (Ondrej Pavel).

Nailed this one. The Avalanche just didn’t trust him enough defensively, and he didn’t play any games for the team after November.

Andrew Cogliano

Last year, he was forced to play more than he should have, and he faded as the year went on. This year, in a more defined 4th line role, he’s more consistent throughout the year, even as he gets older.

He was definitely in a more defined role this season, as the Avalanche really kept him on that fourth line. His play hasn’t been the best, but he’s loved in that locker room and trusted by everyone.

Ryan Johansen

You’re left wanting a little more at even strength, but on the powerplay, proves to be an incredible addition, notching a career high 12 goals with the extra man.

I should have trusted my gut from the film room I did over the summer, where I said he wasn’t a 2C. Not that I claimed he would be in this prediction, but I thought the powerplay would keep him afloat. Once he was taken off the top unit, his game sunk, and on most nights, he was a liability.

Valeri Nichushkin

Fans might still be unsure about him, but he makes it up to them a little bit with his play on the ice, scoring at a point-per-game pace, and allowing the Avalanche to separate MacKinnon and Rantanen.

He did score at a point-per-game pace, but the Avalanche didn’t really take advantage of that by separating MacKinnon and Rantanen. Fair or not, all eyes will be on him during the postseason.

Ross Colton

I’ve already made my big prediction with him – I think he’s scoring 25 goals.

The reason why I thought he’d score 25 goals is because I thought the Avalanche would use him on the wing in the top six at times during the season. That’s something that never happened, simply because they didn’t have the center depth to move him to the wing, so he never got minutes with a guy like MacKinnon. He did set a career high in points, though. Partial credit?

Fredrik Olofsson

Proves to be exactly what Jared Bednar wants out of his fourth line center. Solid, dependable, and shows he can help the team on the penalty kill.

It looked that way for the first month of the season, and then his game fell off. Looks like he’s headed to Europe next season.

Logan O’Connor

Like Cogliano, is put in a much better position in a fourth line role, and excels. With Compher gone, takes the lead on the penalty kill, leading the forwards in ice-time.

If anything, I sold him short. He was the most important bottom six player this season, and I got it right that he was used a ton on the penalty kill. It’s a shame Logan O’Connor won’t be there to help in the playoffs.

Jonathan Drouin

Everyone wants this to work, and it will…once the staff realizes that the best fit on the other side of the duo is Nichushkin. Drouin has a strong season, scoring 45 points, but still misses some games, playing around 70.

It did work! I was more optimistic than most people about this working out, and I’m glad I got that right. He even exceeded my point predictions, setting a new career high.

Miles Wood

Chaos. Pure chaos. Proves to be a little better on the PK than expected, simply because his size and length create problems for the opposition when pressured…when he’s not in the box himself.

Wood proved to be much better on the PK than anyone could have predicted and did cause a lot of chaos. There was a dip in his play late in the year, but I think the Avalanche are happy with the signing.

Nathan MacKinnon

Just two words – Hart Trophy.

I was wrong about Georgiev, but in two months, MacKinnon might make me look very smart. What a season.

Kurtis MacDermid

This might ruffle some feathers, but with the team using LTIR, they can’t accrue cap space, and at the deadline, seeing as how the staff hasn’t shown a willingness to use him in the playoffs, MacDermid is traded to create flexibility for an additional move.

Nailed it.

Artturi Lehkonen

He doesn’t quite score at the same pace he did last season, but surpasses the 20 goal mark for the second straight year.

The scary neck injury early in the year ended his chances of scoring 20 again, but he still almost pulled it off. His scoring pace dipped, but just barely.

Tomas Tatar

He doesn’t score 20 like he did last year, but his creativity proves to be important on the third line, and he assists on a large portion of Colton’s 25 goals.

Woof. Talk about a move that just didn’t work out. His numbers in Seattle didn’t get any better, so the Avalanche may have just signed him right as he started to decline. That’s the risk you take when you sign someone in their 30’s. At least they were able to get out of it fairly easy.

Mikko Rantanen

He doesn’t score 55 again, but gets pretty darn close, putting 48 shots past opposing goalies.

Close! 42 goals and just a point shy of tying his point total from last season.

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