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The Avalanche were one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments last season. They were hyped as a young team that would only get better after a surprising playoff appearance in 2010.
Unfortunately they finished with the second worst record in the entire NHL in 2011 and now no one really knows what to expect of them.
They’re still a young team with some budding superstars, but will that alone be enough to contend for a playoff spot?
It’s always tough to make a prediction for a team that had such a wild swing in the standings from one year to the next despite having a similar roster. The optimists will point out that the addition of a very mature 18-year-old rookie named Gabriel Landeskog will help, so will having Erik Johnson on defence after a full training camp with his new team.
However, if Johnson gets injured or can’t carry the load, the Avs might be in big trouble because the rest of their blue line is suspect. Up front, the first line might be full of young talent, but after that it’s once again anyone’s guess as to who will provide the scoring.
That brings us to the biggest wild card for Colorado, which comes between the pipes. Semyon Varlamov might be the hardest goalie in the NHL to predict, but the Avs are hoping he can be carry them to the playoffs as they gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire him.
If I had to guess how that move will turn out, you probably won’t like it if you’re an Avalanche fan. Something tells me that while there will probably be a slight improvement in Colorado, the 2011-12 version of the Avs still won’t make the playoffs.
Prediction: 13th place in the Western Conference