By Sean Sarcu @seansarcu on October 13, 2014
The Colorado Avalanche had a tremendous 2013-14 regular season, but the year ultimately ended in disappointment with a Game 7 loss to the Minnesota Wild in the first round. Here are five bold predictions for Colorado in 2014-15.
Defenses will key in on shutting down Nathan MacKinnon much more this year than they did in 2013-14, taking all steps possible to neutralize his all-world speed. They should have some success; Colorado isn't as deep up front as it was last season.
The Avalanche's weakness is clearly on the back end, and it seems likely that the team will have major trouble keeping the puck out of its own net this season. Historically good goaltending was all that kept last year's Avs from being a complete disaster defensively. Going by 2013-14's numbers, three goals against per game would rank Colorado as one of the six worst defensive teams in the NHL.
Semyon Varlamov was unbelievable in 2013-14, consistently facing a high volume of quality scoring chances and nevertheless managing to put up some of the best numbers in the NHL. He'll be coming back down to earth in 2014-15.
Gabriel Landeskog has gotten progressively more polished on the offensive end as his NHL career has gone on. He's primed for a breakout this season.
With Colorado's awful defense and horrific possession numbers, it'd take another year of absolutely stellar goaltending to get the Avalanche into the playoffs. It's difficult to see Varlamov repeating last year's performance. Accordingly, it's difficult to see Colorado playing meaningful hockey come late April.
Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.
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