Conference Call Wednesday: The Colorado Avalanche

By Keith Schultz

Mar 18, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Jonathan Toews

(19) shoots the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie

Semyon Varlamov

(1) during the first period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche– 16-25-7 Last place in the Northwest Division

Goals Scored-116

Goals Allowed-152

Home Record-12-9-3

Road Record-4-16-4

2013 Draft Picks








Head Coach: Patrick Roy takes over the reigns in Colorado which should make things very interesting.

2013 season series. The Hawks won the series 2-1

2013- The Avalanche struggled for most of the season during the shortened 2013 season, but they did have one crowning moment during the season and it happened in Denver on March 8th when the Blackhawks came into town on a 24 consecutive point streak to start the season.  The Avalanche had their best game of the season which included a 4 goal second period which was the first real bad period for the Blackhawks during the streak.

It looked just a normal Blackhawks road game when Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad along with Jonathan Toews put together one of the prettier goals of the season, but unlike the rest of the games at the start of the year the Avalanche scored 5 consecutive goals.  Bryan Bickell would score early in the third period to give the Hawks some life, but when PA Parenteau scored with 5 minutes left the game was officially out of reach and the Streak was over. What made the win even more improbable was that the Avalanche had won only one game in the last 5, but the home crowd fueled the upset.

The Hawks would get their revenge 10 days later in Denver when Jimmy Hayes taking over on the second line scored early and the Hawks would cruise to a 5-2 win to avenge their first loss of the season.

The Avalanche have a new coach and they are committing to a rebuilding plan which can be painful at times, but with Roy as coach it will be extremely entertaining.

To help us preview the Colorado Avalanche we talked to Ryan Womeldorf of The Colorado Avalanche Fansided site Mile High Sticking, and here is our conversation about the upcoming Colorado Avalanche season.

Where does Mackinnon get slotted with the Avs already deep in the center position? Patrick Roy has already declared that MacKinnon will be slotted as third line center so his position is set for at least this year. Hopefully, they will let him play his game and not try to put him into a defensive role to “ease him in”.  As from as the future goes, one would assume that he won’t stay there past this season.  Ryan O’Reilly and/or Paul Stastny could be dealt before then, which would open up a slot as either the first or second line center depending on his and Matt Duchene‘s performance. From there, it’s only a matter of time before he’s #1.

How much does missing out on Seth Jones affect the future success of the Avs due to their need for a better blue line? Let’s be realistic about defensemen at the top of the draft: they typically are not huge impact players right out of the gate. Jones fell into a really good situation in Nashville. He’s got Shea Weber,  and the rest of that talented defense to hide his mistakes and ease his transition into the pro game. In Colorado, he was going to be The Man from day one. That’s a lot to take on when you’re a young, developing defenseman.  I doubt he would have had that great of an impact on the blueline this season given who else is on the Avs blueline.

Is there any concern that Ryan O’reilly might have a negative affect on the developement of MacKinnon? Or is O’reilly’s attitude a non issue to the team chemistry? ROR is supposedly a leader in the locker room so I don’t think it’ll be a real issue there or on the ice in terms of Nate Mack’s development. ROR might come to another issue with management this year considering he’s again an RFA once this season expires. Look for them to deal him around the deadline since they can’t move him before February.

Will the O’Reilly contract hurt the Avs when its time to renegotiate with the other star players, mainly Duchene but also Landeskog?
I have to think no because either he’ll be gone or Stastny’s big cap hit will be off the books.  They’ll do whatever it takes to sign Duchene and Landy because, outside of MacKinnon, those are the building blocks for the future.  ROR is a very good player but if push comes to shove, they’ll let him go if that’s the difference between locking up those two to long-term deals.

How do you think the young players on the Avs handle the Blackhawks’ skill and experience? You really don’t handle that. The Hawks are so deep throughout and so talented at the top that it’s tough to ever really “handle” it. The Avalanche don’t have the tools needed — size and skating on the back end to stay on top of the Hawks forwards. With time, hopefully, but right now it doesn’t look like the pieces are there.

Was the AV’s win to end the streak the highlight of the Av’s season? It might have been. Not a whole lot to look back on when you’ve secured the #1 overall pick. It was just ugly from start to finish.

Are the AV’s excited about the new divisions and joining this division? Well, the divisional realignment is supposed to make travel a lot easier on the teams so theoretically they will be more rested and be playing better hockey. As far as the teams in it, there’s a chance to re-ignite an old rivalry in Dallas and hopefully start a few new ones.

Do you see a divisional rivalry in the future for these clubs? Unless both teams were really good at the same time, not really. When Colorado was good, Chicago wasn’t and vice versa. Just doesn’t seem to be a lot of heat there as Chicago is busier with traditional rivalries like Detroit, St.Louis, and Boston.  It would be nice for the Avs’ young core to make the Avs someone worth being a rival.

Will the AV’s be a darkhorse playoff contender? There are huge holes on defense. And frankly, though he has his moments, the jury is out on Varlamov at least until he gets some help in front of him. Maybe the Avs can compete offensively — the top 6/9 are pretty stacked — but with what they have on defense, there’s not a playoff team in there.

Summary- The Avalanche probably aren’t going to the playoffs this season, but they will be a fun to watch while playing a high paced offensive game with a defense that will need to mature and find itself.

What do you think? What is your expectation for the Avalanche in the 2013-2014 season? Thanks again to Ryan Womeldorf for taking time for our interview and anytime you’re looking for Avalanche coverage stop by Mile High Sticking.

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