2008/09 Vancouver Canucks Season Preview
2008/09 Colorado Avalanche Season Preview
4. Colorado Avalanche – Probably a big surprise for most people having this team this low. I like their forwards but their defence could be better and their goaltending could end up being the worst tandem in the league.
Up front the Avalanche look good with Milan Hejduk, Ian Laperriere, Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, Marek Svatos, Darcy Tucker and Tyler Arnason. Joe Sakic will look to prove that he still has something left in the tank and Wojtek Wolski should have a great year.
On defence the Avs are decent, but don’t quite have the legs to compete with Minnesota, Calgary or even Edmonton. Adam Foote, Scott Hannan and Ruslan Salei are all solid in their own end but two out of the three are old and the other has injury issues. John-Michael Liles will provide some offence from the blueline, but unfortunately he’s the only one. Brett Clark is a more stay-at-home defenceman and Daniel Tjarnqvist can’t be relied upon to score points. Jordan Leopold has yet to reach his potential and with his injury history I don’t think he ever will.
Now, the most obvious weakness is in net. Peter Budaj isn’t quite good enough to be a #1 and Andrew Raycroft showed in Toronto that when the game counts he crumbles under the pressure. Unless they improve their defence and goaltending, even with their forwards, Colorado will be watching playoff hockey from home this year.