With the Avalanche finally announcing their final preseason roster moves (which we covered...uh, twice), I thought it would be interesting to look at the changes between the 2011 opening night roster and the team we opened up 2010 with (excluding the IR but including nacho nabbers). As a reminder, we have all the reports from the 2010-2011 season in one handy page. Well, it's handy to me at least.
Obviously, the Avs have completely revamped the goalie department, dumping Budaj and Body Language while adding Varly and getting Giggy with it. I won't spend
much any time breaking the goalies down. The Avs will be better between the pipes or else they will be totally screwed.
Up front, the Avalanche have 9 forwards on the active roster that were there against Chicago last October. There vital stats are below.
Here's the 4 guys who were on last year's opening night roster but aren't on the active roster now
Those 4 players have been replaced by the 5 guys below (the Avalanche only carried 22 players at the start of last season):
Essentially, you can break this down as swapping Kobasew and McClement for Yip and Dupuis. Decent trade. Then you drop Olver for Lindstrom. Hard to say; probably even but likely not a big deal either way. Finally, you lose Chris Stewart and replace him with Landeskog and Mueller. Way, way too early to call this one...especially since neither Landeskog or Mueller played a minute in the NHL last year.
Statistically, the 2011-2012 Avalanche forwards look similar on the whole to the 2010-2011 Avalanche. They are a year older (amazing), but are roughly the same size. Subjectively, the Avs lose some toughness and guaranteed scoring output, but increase their skill level a bit.
On defense, there are two players returning from opening night: Ryan Wilson and Kyle Quincey.
First, our 2010 opening night D-men:
They've been replaced by these goliaths
Obviously, as Andi has already pointed out, the shiny new Avalanche D is way, way bigger than the old and busted Avalanche D. These guys are, in a word, freakinggargantuaninareallybigwaydude.
Unfortunately, collectively and individually, they are even more offensively-challenged than last year's squad and waaay more prone to taking penalties. Which would probably be okay if the Avalanche had a potent offense (just 4-players who cracked 40 points last year) and something more competent than the league's worst PK last year.
What's my point in all of this bury-the-lead gobbledygook? The bottom line is that the Avalanche haven't really changed all that much up front but are a totally different squad from the blueline back. And it's not just different personnel, but a whole new philosophy, changing from the little speed demons to the big bad behemoths. There's no way to tell how this is going to work in real life...so let's bring on those damn Red Wings and kick the tires on this damn thing!