Hey, haven't done one of these in a while. Maybe because nothings going on, or maybe because no one reads them. It's a toss up. Anyway, I'm going to blog about the expectations for next season; that is, what would be considered a successful campaign.
Well...here's where the bad news comes in. The next season, I emphasize, will be a bust unless the Avalanche make it to the western conference finals. There, I said it.
Right now, nobody, and I mean nobody, has the Avalanche making it to the leagues final four. Okay...so why am I linking such a lofty goal to the next season then?
One word answer: age. Foote's two year contract will likely be the last contract of his career, and Avalanche fans will be lucky if Joe signs another one year contract next summer. Of the 23 players currently on the Avalanche roster, 11 of them are over 30, with several more knocking on 30. The only real prospects that will with out a shadow of a doubt be making the team are Wolski, Statsny, and Svatos.
Like I said, old. With the defense and offense this team has, I don't think it's possible to tank the season, even with Boots and Rayzor between the pipes.
The team needs to rebuild, but can't because the youth simply isn't there. That's why they have to go for broke right now. If Francois Giguere had any brains, he would've quit penny pinching and signed Theodore (or Huet, or traded for another goalie), instead of throwing money at players like Raycroft and Willsie, neither of whom are likely to play more than 40 games.
The defense and offense are there. Neither unit is the best in the league, but they're both solid enough to get the job done. And with Tony Granato back behind the bench (who suprisingly has the highest winning % of all Avalanche coaches), the Avs will hopefully return to being an offensive minded team, something it has not been the last 3 seasons.
In other words, they need to do what Dallas did last season. The Stars went into the 2008 season ranked around 6th, but overachieved and now go into this season with many people calling them "cup contenders".
The season, and Joe Sakic's chances of having any shot at another Stanley Cup, are in the hands of Colorado's goalies; one has never had it, the other hasn't had it for a long time.
I think if you add a player like Vokoun to the Avalanche roster (and a Forsberg), they have a decent/good chance of improving on last season (which WAS a successful season, despite all the injuries).
But until then...