Colorado Avalanche preview

Overview: There’s a tendency amongst NHL teams that when they have a good season (either regular or postseason) following a couple of bad years, general managers over-estimate their team, and think the team is better than it is.

I call it Edmonton-itis. After the Oilers made it to the finals in 2006, the team’s high-ranking officials decided the Oilers were quite good, and never did much during the offseason (except for trading Chris Pronger, which the star demanded). The team hasn’t made it back to the playoffs since.

Now the Colorado Avalanche find themselves in the same position. After a great regular season last year (following a year they missed the playoffs), management was faced with some decisions. Were the team as good as what they looked last year, or did they over-reach? And if they did over-reach, are they now suffering from a case of Edmonton-itis?

Best offseason move: Signing Chris Stewart. But even then, they didn’t lock up the 22-year-old to a long-term deal or anything. But Stewart is part of the future of this franchise, and getting him signed is a good move.

Worst offseason move: Not doing anything. They signed a total of five free agents, none of whom will make this team (and all at the minimum league salary). They never improved in any position. And they have almost $20 million in cap space. What are they saving that money for? So if any player has a setback, things won’t be looking good for this team.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Matt Duchene for the Lady Byng

Pool pick: Milan Hejduk. He had under 50 points last season, but he missed part of the season due to injury. If he can stay healthy, he should crack 60 points. Who to stay away from: Wojtek Wolski. His 65 point season last year was an aberration. He’ll probably come back down to 45 points this year.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the players who have played at least 50 games for the Colorado Avalanche?

Best hall of fame choice: Milan Hejduk. He’s a bit iffy to make it in, but meets some criteria that could warrant him consideration. He’s won a Stanley Cup. He’s won the Rocket Richard trophy. He’s won gold at the Olympics. His numbers are iffy (only 335 goals, and 701 points). But if he can hit 400 goals in the next couple of seasons, then he has an outside shot.

Blog to follow: Anyone But Detroit

My Prediction: Third in the Northwest, 10th in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Jessica Biel


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