Are The Colorado Avalanche The Team To Beat?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Are The Colorado Avalanche The Team To Beat?

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Are The Colorado Avalanche The Team To Beat?

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Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

26 years ago, the Colorado Avalanche had won their first ever Stanley Cup in franchise history when they swept the Florida Panthers. On June 9th, 2001 they stopped the then champion New Jersey Devils from going back-to-back and won their second championship. It was the stuff of legends as they created one of the most memorable moments as Captain Joe Sakic immediately handed the Stanley Cup to Ray Bourque after waiting 22 years to lift Lord Stanley. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the Avalanche were one of the preeminent teams of their time. The legends of Joe Sakic (now their GM), Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, Milan Hejduk, Adam Foote, and Ray Bourque. Dominant, fast, fun, and skilled. 

Fast forward 26 years and it looks like the current roster is starting to look like they are entering a new era of dominance. The playoffs are never forgiving as the Avalanche have finally started to see some injuries get to them. Losing Darcy Kuemper in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, backup Goaltender Pavel Francouz has stepped up to defend the crease. In his six games played in this postseason he has come up huge, posting a 6-0 record at the age of 32. Francouz has been the anchor for the Avalanche as they continue their fast pace to the Stanley Cup Final.

Defense, especially in the playoffs, can help change the tide of games. For Colorado, they have certainly gotten a ton of help from their defensemen. Scoring a combined 56 points, of the 166 points the Avs players have scored, defenseman have accounted for 33.7% of points for the team. And that all starts with their young star defenseman Cale Makar. He is most likely going to win the Norris Trophy this year as the league’s best defenseman, but it’s insane how much talent he has as a 23 year old.

“THE CLOSEST PLAYER WE’VE EVER SEEN OFFENSIVELY AND DEFENSIVELY THAT CAN MAKE AN IMPACT ON THE GAME THAT MUCH IS BOBBY ORR.” – Wayne Gretzky

The offensive savant he is could easily make him a forward but his acumen and poise in his own zone is what separates him from the pack. When he possesses the puck, the game plays at his tempo and the fate of the game can change when the puck is on his stick. Whether it’s his lethal passing or being a complete threat to score, Cale can skate like the best of them and be a game changer. He leads his team in playoff scoring with five goals and 17 assists for a whopping 22 points which has him tied with the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov for fifth in the playoffs. Currently Makar has 53 points in 49 career playoff games, and has more playoff points than many prominent defenseman. 

  • Drew Doughty – 51 Points in 84 Games
  • Börje Salming – 49 Points in 81 Games
  • Shea Weber – 42 Points in 97 Games
  • Roman Josi – 42 in 85 Games

And if he scores 10 more points, he’ll surpass P.K. Subban, Brent Burns, Brent Seabrook, Torey Krug, Phil Housley, and Erik Karlsson. Needless to say he may be one of the best defenseman to ever play by the end of his career. And he has a long way to go with his career on the Avalanche.

Given a chance to finally go deep into the playoffs, Nathan MacKinnon has also started to forge more of his own legacy this postseason. Tied for second with 11 goals, MacKinnon has been an absolute monster. Scoring 18 points and averaging, he has been the X-Factor for the Avs. Through 64 career playoff games, MacKinnon is averaging a whopping 1.36 Points Per Game. With his strength and speed he torches defenses and scores highlight reel goals like this one where he went coast to coast that should’ve ended the series in St. Louis. 

With all this amazing talent and high octane offense, it’s hard to doubt them as a favorite to win it all. As the Rangers and Lightning continue to battle in a slug fest, a question arises. 

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