Prediction time! Please make your bold predictions here so we can all marvel or point and laugh at the end of the year. How many points will the Avalanche finish with? How deep will they go in the playoffs? Who will lead the team in scoring? Who will be the top-scoring defenseman? And who will top the team in penalty minutes?
David Driscoll-Carignan, Mile High Hockey: 98 points, thanks in part to a resurgence of J.S. Giguere. 2nd round exit. Stastny leads the way with 72 points while Johnson scores 44 on the blueline. Shane O'Brien has a pugilistic resurgence and leads the team with 150 penalty minutes. And Jimmy Howard wins the Calder for the 23rd straight time.
Adrian Dater, Denver Post: I'll say they finish 11th (sorry). Leading scorer: Duchene, 69 points. Top-scoring D-man: Elliott - 41 points. Penalty-minute leader: The Highlander, of course.
Brett Shumway, Mile High Hockey: Avs will finish with 99 points. Get tossed in the first round. Duchene will lead the team in scoring. EJ leads the D. And although O'Brien will make a valiant effort, Cody Mac will continue his reign as PIM king.
Matt Muzia, SBN Denver: The Avalanche finish second in the Northwest Division with 100 points, good enough for sixth in the Western Conference. Paul Stastny has a rebound year with 80 points, and (Bold Prediction Alert!) Colorado finishes top 12 in Goals Allowed.
Ryan Boulding, The Avalanche Guild: I hate making predictions as they are based on basically nothing when it comes to the Colorado Avalanche. Injuries, strange decisions, awkward trades have an unforeseeable impact on the season. While the diehard fan in me predicts winning the Stanley Cup, the realist sees something more like a close sixth or seventh place finish with a first round exit unless the stars align. I wouldn't put it past this team to be an eighth seed upset like the Canadians last season or the Oilers from a few years back. 99 points will bring them in and Stastny will lead in points. Duchene will lead in goals. The Burgundy Brigade will be the next big thing for fans. John-Michael Liles won't be fourth on the team with 46 points and Stoa won't be worth keeping track of. Erik Johnson will lead defense in points unless Elliott plays, then it will be Elliott by a mile. Penalty minutes will to go to either Cody McLeod or Shane O'Brien. Whatever happens, beating the finish from last year should be easy and it will certainly be a fun year of our favorite sport.
Mike Verminski, Put It On Ice: The they will finish with 83 points, but still miss the playoffs. I think Stastny will get his mojo back and lead the team in scoring next season. Jonson should be the top scoring defenseman and McLeod will definitely lead the team in penalty minutes!
Nic Zamora, Avaholics Anonymous: The Avs will finish with 95 points which will be good enough for 8th spot in the playoffs. There will be no sweep but the team will not go down without a fight and take it to 6 games in the 1st round but will not make it farther than that. I'll say Matt Duchene takes that next step and leads the team in scoring with 85 points while Cody McLeod leads in PIMs with 180.
AJ Haefele, Mile High Hockey: I'm seeing the Avalanche finishing the season with 90 points because injuries WILL happen and at the end of the day, this still is not a deep enough team to overcome long-term injuries to key players. With a 90 point season, I don't see the Avalanche making the playoffs. I think Matt Duchene will be lead the team in scoring (77 points) and Erik Johnson will be the top-scoring defenseman (46 points). The top PIMs getter will be Cody McLeod with 112.
Cheryl Bradley, Mile High Hockey & Avalanche Breakaway: How many points will the Avalanche finish with? 92 How deep will they go in the playoffs? They won't make it, falling just short of a playoff berth in 9th or 10th place in the West. Who will lead the team in scoring? Matt Duchene (80 pts) Who will be the top-scoring defenseman? Erik Johnson (50 pts) And who will top the team in penalty minutes? Cody McLeod (130 PIM)
Sean Payton, Anyone But Detroit:
Points: 97 points - finish 7th in the Western Conf
Playoffs: Lose in first round
Scoring leader: Duchene
Defenseman scoring leader: Johnson
Penalty mins leader: McLeod
Angélique Murray, Colorado Avalanche Prospects, Mile High Hockey & Chicks Who Give A Puck: I think this team has the potential of making the playoffs. Certainly things have to go right, namely a healthy Peter Mueller in post Phoenix and pre Rob Blake hit form. Erik Johnson needs to come into his own, especially considering this is a contract year. Semyon Varlamov has to perform and quickly considering the high price the Avalanche paid.
With that being said, it took 97 points to make the playoffs in the Western Conference last year and that would involve a 29 point improvement from the Avalanche this year to reach that mark. Better goaltending and a bigger and more rugged defense will certainly help. I'll put Colorado at 94 points. Depending on how things work out, it could be enough for them to slide into the top eight.
Even if they manage to get in, I'm expecting they'll be one and done. Matt Duchene will get his first 80 plus point season and lead the team offensively. A nod to Erik Johnson as the top scoring defenseman with at least 40 points and Cody McLeod will lead the team in penalty minutes (shoot for 200 Highlander).
Jaye Horbay, Mile High Sticking:
Final Points - 98 pts
Playoffs - second round loss
Scoring Leader - Duchene 85 pts
Top Scoring D man - Quincey 50 pts (please please please)
Top Penalty Mins - Shane O'brien/Kyle Cumiskey tied, each one of them being stupid and costing us at least one game.
David from Slovakia, Eurolanche: Points: 96, Playoffs: As a die-hard fan = Stanley Cup, as a realistic person = 2nd round. Scoring: Duchene, D-man: Johnson. PIM: Winnik.
Pavol from Austria, Eurolanche: Points: 74; No play-off next year; Top scorer: Duchene; Top-scoring defender: Johnson; Top in penalty minutes: O'Byrne.
Aaron Musick, HockeyBuzz: I already have this posted for everyone to mock/marvel at but I think Matt Duchene gets 90 points this year. I think he is going to explode. In addition, I think Semyon Varlamov will get 37 wins and the Avs 98 points and find their way into the playoffs. Then again that is total and complete optimism talking.
Mike Chambers, Denver Post: Much improved defensively, Avs make the playoffs with 96 points. Duchene is the top scorer. Quincey is the top offensive guy on the blue line. McLeod fights the most.
Geoff Rosenthal, The Avs Factor: The Avalanche will finish with 93 points, good enough for second in the Northwest Division and eighth in the Western Conference. They will advance to second round of the playoffs after knocking off the Vancouver Canucks in round one. Matt Duchene will lead the team in scoring with a cool 87 points, while Stefan Elliott will emerge from the AHL to lead the defensemen in scoring (ala Kevin Shattenkirk). The penalty minute king, Cody McLeod, will return to defend his belt. Peter Mueller will not get injured. Joakim Lindstrom will receive the Jarsoslav Hlinka treatment. Paul Stastny will not be traded.
Andi D, Mile High Hockey: I think the Avs will finish with 98 points, good for 8th in the West, and just barely squeek into playoffs. I expect them to push the first round to at least 6 games, but I highly doubt they'll make it past the second round. Dutchy will lead the scorers with around 85pts in the regular season, and EJ will lead the blueline with about 40pts. O'Byrne will lead the team in PIM because he'll get more minutes than McLeod or O'Brien this year (the other two candidates for the top PIM award). I also expect that some of our numerous blueliners will be traded for young, top 6 caliber wingers at some point, and that Erik Johnson will be wearing a C on the front of his jersey.
Derek Bell, Mile High Hockey:
Record: 44-29-9 for 97 points, finish 2nd in Northwest behind the Vancouver Canucks and 7th in the Western Conference.
Playoffs: The Avs will make the playoffs this year, but unfortunately fall in the first round to the Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Kings.
Leading Scorer/Defenseman: Mighty Matt Duchene (35 goals/86 points)/Erik Johnson (10 goals/36 points)
Penalty Minutes Leader: Cody McLeod (206 PIM)
Austin Snow, Avs Chill Zone: I think the Avalanche hit the 96-point mark and end up in the #7 seed. Again, maybe that's shooting a bit high, but there are significant improvements from last season, and the team is due for a season without many major injuries. They're also due for a semi-final win. I say they extend the 2nd round series 7 games but lose out on their bid to make to the conference finals.
Duchene will again lead the team in scoring, but Stastny won't be far behind. I say Dutchy hits 90 points thanks to the addition of Mueller on his line, but I also have a feeling that Mueller will go down again with a concussion.
Quincey will be the top scoring d-man with 50 points, and O'Brien leads the team in PIMs with 120ish.
Mike @ MHH, Mile High Hockey: 87, miss playoffs, Johnson, McLeod.
Stephen Crociata, Mile High Sticking and SBNation New York: The Avalanche will finish with 96 points. They will lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Matt Duchene will lead the Avalanche in scoring with over 80 points. Erik Johnson will lead defenseman in scoring with 42 points. Brad Malone will top the team in PIM. Also Gabriel Landeskog will win the Calder.
Final tally: 16-6 in favor of the Avalanche making the playoffs. Duchene received 17 votes to lead the team in scoring, with 4 votes for Stastny and one no vote. Johnson was the leading vote-getter for defensive scoring, with Elliott and Quincey each receiving 3 votes. Cody McLeod got 13 votes for penalty minutes, with Shane O'Brien receiving 3, Ryan O'Byrne 2 and Daniel Winnik (!) getting one nod.
Of course, we'd like to hear your bold predictions in the comments section.
I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the roundtable this year. It was a lot of work to put this together, but the answers made it totally worth it. The Avalanche have a great community of writers supporting the team and this roundtable is just a small sample of the wealth of talent out there. We hope you'll take some time to visit the great sites we've been linking throughout the Roundtable, as well as some of our favorites who weren't able to participate this year, like JibbleScribbits and Avs Hockey Podcast.
For reference, here's the questions we covered this year. And, all the previous questions are archived here.
- Meet the cast
- Day 1: A blast from the past
- Day 2: Moving vans
- Day 3: Looking back at the trades
- Day 4: Skipper Joe
- Day 5: Varlamov and the lottery
- Day 6: Moving on up?
- Day 7: Ryan Stoa
- Day 8: Gabriel Landeskog
- Day 9: Breakout player
- Day 10: The D
- Day 11: The Goalies
The roundtable may be over, but the season is just about to kick off in a big way as training camp starts tomorrow. We actually have a big training camp preview coming later today, so don't change that dial!