Colorado Avalanche has been a middle of the pack contender for the past few seasons, and will most likely continue to remain there. The Avs lost young defensemen Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger, as well as keeper Jose Theodore. With Joe Sakic’s return or retirement up in the air and the loss of forward Andrew Burnette, the Avalanche may struggle to produce enough offense to succeed in a talented Western Conference.
The Avs did sign Andrew Raycroft to provide some level of goaltending, but Raycroft is coming off of a season in which he lost his position as starting netminder in Toronto. The Avalanche also signed Darcy Tucker to provide some offensive help. The re-signings of veteran defensemen Adam Foote and John Michael Liles will provide stability on the blue line. This should be somewhat comforting to new coach Tony Granato, considering the fact that the situation in net is uncertain at best, with Peter Budaj and inconsistent Andrew Raycroft competing for starting position.
With Marek Svatos signed to a new deal which will keep him in Colorado for the next few seasons, the number one priority in Colorado should be the future of captain and franchise hero Joe Sakic. If Sakic can return and continue to produce, the Avs should be moderately successful. If not, it may be a long season in Denver.