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Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL September 22nd, 2014

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Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

TSN recaps the Avs season last year and gives a "look ahead".

This is Now: The Avalanche lost Stastny in free agency to the division-rival Blues, who were the only team to beat the Avs more than once last season (they earned three wins in four contests).

Despite losing Stastny, the Avalanche still boast one of the deepest centre groups in the league. MacKinnon, Duchene and O'Reilly can all take on top-six duties, while John Mitchell, Marc-Andre Cliche and off-season addition Daniel Briere fight for bottom-six roles. In all likelihood, the depth at centre forces the Avalanche to line up Ryan O'Reilly on the wing – as he did for the majority of last season - of the team's second line and Briere to the wing of the third.

In his second year, MacKinnon may be tasked with taking on the role of the first-line centre. However, with the territory comes playing alongside Landeskog and free-agent signee Jarome Iginla, who scored 30 goals with the Bruins last season.

Iggy is pretty happy to be playing with Duchene and O'Reily.

I enjoyed it a lot," said Iginla, who scored a first-period goal and assisted on Duchene's game-winner with 1:07 left in the third period that broke a 3-3 tie. "I think there's some real good chemistry. I've been here about a month now, and although training camp just started a few days ago, it feels like it's been a few weeks now because guys got together early. I like playing with Dutchy and Factor (Ryan O'Reilly). They're skilled, they're quick and they create a lot. You can tell they've played together a lot, because they have great chemistry, and I just want to add to it."

Iginla primarily played on a line with Krejci in Boston last season and led the Bruins with 30 goals. Iginla has scored at least 30 goals in a full season every year since 1999-2000, when he had 29 for the Flames.

Duchene, who has played with numerous right wingers in his five seasons with the Avs, can't believe his good fortune in playing with a future Hall of Famer.

"I mean, his career speaks for itself, and I thought we had a good first game together, our whole line," said Duchene, who roofed a wrist shot over the shoulder of goalie Francois Tremblay to win the game.

Sakic says Avs ownership is allowing him to spend more money now.

At the same time, the club’s ownership is hoping for a bit more off-ice success, since there’s still a long ways to go in the ticket-sales department, and the Avs are back up among the NHL’s payroll leaders.

“We’re a cap team now, despite us being in the bottom five of the league in ticket revenue,” president of hockey ops told the Denver Post. “Even knowing that, [ownership] still want to win a championship and gave us the green light to do whatever we can to make this team win.”

A pair of NHL sources told the Post that the Avs’ season-ticket base is “around 6,500,” leaving no shortage of seats to sell on an individual game basis.

Roy says that Berra worked hard this offseason.

One major question: Can Reto Berra handle the backup goaltending position with any effectiveness? He was awful in two games with the Avalanche following his acquisition from Calgary in exchange for a second-round draft pick and is entering the first year of a three-year, $4.35 million contract.

"I have to agree he didn't play up to ...," Roy said, pausing. "But it was a tough situation for him. When he came in Jiggy was playing really well down the stretch. Coming to a team that had high expectations going to the end of the season and the playoffs it was not an easy situation for him. But I think he worked really hard this summer. He went to Switzerland, worked with (goalie coach) Francois Allaire at his hockey school there, came down to Montreal and worked hard. (Allaire) worked really hard with Varly last year and I hope it's going to have the same effect on him."

Roy has no doubt Varlamov will continue to play as well as he did last year while winning a franchise record and NHL best 41 games.