JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press
Why they need it
The Colorado Avalanche were one of top scoring teams in the league last year, scoring the fourth-most goals per game on average (2.99) thanks to depth and youthful exuberance up front.
The defensive group, meanwhile, was simply awful.
The Avs finished in the middle of the pack when it came to goals against, sitting 15th with 2.55 goals against on average per game. But that was only because of the incredible play from goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who face the most shots in the NHL this season but posted a .927 save percentage (second-best in the league behind Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask) to bail his teammates out often.
Behind Erik Johnson, who is inconsistent in his own end, and Jan Hejda, who is already 35 years old, the Avalanche has no stability. Tyson Barrie showed promise but suffered a bad knee injury in the playoffs. Things go downhill from there.
How they get it
The Avalanche need to address the position in a couple of ways. One, they can go after a guy like Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets via the trade route; and two, they can shore up depth with a couple of the many aging veterans available in unrestricted free agency come July 1.
Thanks to a great season under new head coach Patrick Roy, the Avalanche offer a chance at the Stanley Cup next year, which makes them an attractive landing spot for free agents in the mold of Dan Boyle, Andrei Markov, Sami Salo and Ron Hainsey — or someone with more years ahead like Matt Niskanen.
They have lots of young talent and prospects in the system to make a move on the trade front.