The cats out of the bag now, The Colorado Avalanche are coming. It’s no longer a secret that the once dormant Avalanche have a ton of high expectations going into the 2019-2020 NHL season. The momentum has been building after not only making it to the playoffs the last 2 years, but exceeding expectations both times as well.
Everyone is well aware of the young core that the Avs posses. After all, they were crowned the “best line in all of hockey” last year although they eventually broke up and disbanded to add more balance to the rotation. Not only does this young Colorado hockey club have the star players like Rantanen, MacKinnon, and Landeskog but they also have the lesser known guys who have just as much potential. The Cale Makars, Samuel Girards, and Tyson Jost’s are another added flavor to the very potent crockpot of potential of what this team could be in the future.
Guess what? The future is here and nobody knew that better than the Vice President of Hockey Operations, Joe Sakic. The offseason was a busy one for him, with another top five draft pick already tucked neatly into his pocket for later, he reached into the honey pot again and shocked the NHL with a blockbuster deal. Out goes the butt-end of most turnover jokes both on the ice and the delicious treat (real fans know) as Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot were dealt for the Leafs’ Nazem Kadri. Key pieces of this team were kept, and depth was added accordingly and now the NHL sets its sights on the Avalanche to be one of the biggest upcoming teams.
It’s not just fans in Denver that know where this team is headed, other fans across the league have started to take notice.
The Avs are indeed building something spooky, this team looks ready to out-skate and out-work any team in the league. I’d like to describe them as the perfectly dangerous mix of raw talent, and youthful hunger that can set them over the edge as a contender.
All this sounds great until you realize the last big piece to the puzzle. Goaltending has been a shortcoming of the Avalanche these past two years, and while the now starting goalie of the Avalanche, Philipp Grubauer, played exceptionally well at the end of last year all the way into the playoffs, it has many fans wondering if he can continue to do so.
Grubauer had some massive ups and downs last year and this can be a reason to be cautiously optimistic when thinking about the Avs potential for next year. The Avs went on a stretch where they won 4 games in a 2-month period and goaltending was a catalyst for much of it. Keep in mind that wasn’t the only reason the team went for a downfall last year and the goaltending was a 2 way carousel between Varlamov and Gruby and Gruby was the one who eventually pulled the team out of the losing funk. The Avs have since parted ways with longtime goalie Varlamov making this essentially Grubauers team now. This will be the first year where Grubauer will be the number 1 guy at the start of the season, and it leaves some open-ended questions to if he can prop this team up as the “plan A” guy.
The roster is stacked and the celling is sky high for this young and hungry club in Denver, but make no mistake there is an immense amount of pressure of Philipp Grubauer’s shoulders to carry this team along the way.