The Colorado Avalanche head into the 2013-14 season looking like a pretty similar club to the one that failed so miserably during the lockout shortened 2013 season. The only real improvements to the roster have taken place on the offensive end, with the front office hoping health and a new coaching staff will lead to a rebound.
Which means that this team is going to be led by their offense. They have a solid core of offensive talent, but are still very weak on the blue line and especially between the pipes, where Semyon Varlamov has yet to look like anything resembling a franchise goaltender.
But is their offense good enough to carry this team to be taken seriously in the newly branded Conference III? Sure, they have an impressive young nucleus, but at the same time, it may not be enough to overcome their defensive inefficiencies. Doesn’t mean they won’t try.
It certainly helps that Gabriel Landeskog will be back and completely healthy. After some early concussion issues limited him, he never found his footing in a pretty poor 2013 season. Landeskog taking the next step towards elite will go a long way towards helping this team’s fortunes.
Nathan MacKinnon is expected to be an offensive power in the very near future for this team. But with a logjam in the middle, it’ll be interesting to see how they plan to utilize him. But add him to Landeskog, Paul Stastny, and Ryan O’Reilly, along with Matt Duchene, and this team can be dangerous offensively.
They have a couple offensive role players in place. Alex Tanguay will bring some secondary scoring and some veteran leadership to the mix. Jamie McGinn should rebound from a pretty poor season in which he only notched 11 goals. This is a team that shouldn’t have a problem scoring goals. But will it be enough to get them to where they want to be this season?
On paper, it would appear to be. But based off of what we saw last year, it’s hard to say for certain.
That remains to be seen. We’ve seen teams that are dynamite on offense fall flat on their faces in the postseason without a strong blue line (Read as: Pittsburgh Penguins). There’s still a ways to go in the summer, so we’ll see if they make any additional improvements, but as of right now, this looks like a team that is going to rely heavily on their offense.