Avalanche Season Preview via NHL.com

Don't be embarrassed Jiggy! Everyone drops their stick sometime.

For those Internet wanderers out there who need a lot of hand holding (or just like it), here is a link to NHL.com's analysis of the Avalanche coming into the 2012-2013 season to be (or not to be, that is the question).

For those of you to lazy to click those burdensome links, here's there bullet points:

  • Lots of young guys with promise, but can they continue to improve?
  • EJ Hradek "likes" the Avalanche. But the question remains: is that a Facebook "like", a traditional "like", or is he saying "like" when he really wants to take the Avalanche home and break him off some?
  • Duchene signed a "modest" contract (He loves Beau Jo's). Jones signed an inflated contract. O'Reilly needs to sign A contract.
  • Avs have mad goaltending depth.
  • Can Sacco get the most of the young guys? Is he a playoff caliber coach?
  • Can Landeskog avoid a sophomore slump? [editor's note: have you watched him play?]
  • The Avs need Duchene and Stastny to have better seasons and meet expectations.
  • Avs offense looks more "potent" than last season, mainly because of the addition of PA Parenteau and the potential of full seasons from McGinn and Downie.
  • The Penalty Kill looks less powerful with the loss of McClement and the addition of nobody who kills penalties.
  • According to NHL.com, Duchene is the Avs' "X-factor". Duchene disappointed last season, but if he can bounce back, so could the Avs' playoff chances. Here is Duchene's excuse reason for a lackluster season:

"My weapons are my legs, and I didn't have them," Duchene said after the season. "I kind of had to learn a new way to play. It was a perfect storm. When everyone else was elevating their game, it was pretty much me starting from scratch."

And here are wise words from a boy who is maturing:

"As much as it's been hell, individually, for me this year for the second half, I've also learned a ton," Duchene said after the season. "You don't get better in the good times. You get better in the bad times."

  • And it wasn't all burgundy rainbows and blueberry sunshine:

...there are concerns about a slow, sluggish defense. There is a No. 1 goalie (Semyon Varlamov) whose stamina and ability remain unproven. And there is a Calder Trophy winner (Gabriel Landeskog) in danger of a sophomore slump.

SUMMARY: Overall it was a surprisingly positive review (I didn't think they even knew who was on the team), but ultimately didn't reveal anything new other than it sounds like people are taking notice of what the Avs are doing and where they're headed.

Here are NHL.com's line predictions. What do you think?:

Milan Hejduk - Matt Duchene - PA Parenteau

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Steve Downie

Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones

Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Chuck Kobasew

Nachos: Mark Olver

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