Though they’re sort of flying under the radar during the first couple of weeks of the 2013-14 regular season, the Colorado Avalanche have been one of the larger surprises in the league. Under the tutelage of new head coach Patrick Roy, they’re off to a terrific start as they look to rebound from a miserable 2013 year.
Should we be taking them seriously, though? The numbers through their first four games of the season would indicate just that. Their goal differential is extremely impressive. They’ve allowed only three goals total in four games, the lowest total in the league, while scoring 13. That +10 differential is tied for second in the league.
Though it’s only four games into the year, it’s quite the quick turnaround for an Avalanche team that struggled so mightily in 2013. That team finished dead last in the Western Conference and had a -36 goal differential, worst in the West and second worst in the league overall.
This ability to keep the puck out of their own net isn’t something we should continue to expect from them. Their blue line isn’t that good. What they do have is a solid group of defensive forwards that have been helping out in the defensive end, and it’s made a difference. Defensively, overall, this isn’t a top club, though.
That’s not to say that the Avalanche are not to be taken seriously. Their group of forwards is capable of putting the puck in the net at a rate with the best of the league. If Semyon Varlamov continues to play well and the blue line is even decent, this is a playoff caliber Avs team.
Of course, don’t forget about the coaching change. The Avalanche are clearly buying in to what Patrick Roy has brought to the table. A coach with that type of fire is clearly having an impact, and it’s already visible. While their incredible pace will not continue, don’t sleep on the Avalanche moving forward.