It’s finally over. Not only the worst season in Colorado Avalanche history but the worst season of any team in the shootout era. Now, we just hope and pray things get better in the offseason.
Ten games ago, I asked a series of important questions about how the Avs would close out the year. It’s time to find out how they did.
Can Nathan MacKinnon reach fifty points?
MacKinnon picked up the five points he needed in the first four games and finished with 53-points on the year. He found chemistry with Mikko Rantanen and Sven Andrighetto, giving fans some hope heading into next season. He had a highlight reel goal against Washington, and when you see plays like that, you become more and frustrated that those plays only happen once every ten games for MacKinnon. If the Avs want to be better next year, they’ll need their best player to be much better.
Can Matt Duchene reach twenty goals?
Duchene not only scored just one goal in the final ten games, he had only four points. Take your pick on who had a more disappointing season: Duchene or MacKinnon. However, while Matt didn’t crack the 20-goal plateau, rookie Mikko Rantanen did. Mikko scored six goals in the last ten games to give him 20 on the year. The season was filled with disappointment, but Rantanen was a bright spot in the dark times. Very few will talk about Mikko’s season given how bad the Avs were and how good other rookies like Patrick Laine and everyone on the Toronto Maple Leafs played, but Mikko is someone we can get excited about moving forward.
Will an Avalanche goalie record a shutout?
Admittedly, this one may have been a bit ambitious. The defense simply wasn’t good enough all season, Calvin Pickard is always good for one soft goal a game, and Jeremy Smith doesn’t appear to be an NHL caliber goalie at the moment. Pickard did give up just one goal against St. Louis in a shootout victory. By Avalanche standards, that should count as a shutout.
Will youth be injected?
Sort of. The Avs didn’t go with a full youth movement, but they did sign Tyson Jost and call up Rocco Grimaldi and Duncan Siemens for a couple of games. Jost looks like he’s going to be a good player for the Avs moving forward, Grimaldi had some flashes of brilliance, and Siemens hit everything that moved. Unfortunately, Rene Bourque, Carl Soderberg, and Francois Beauchemin remained in the lineup, and Jared Bednar rotated in and out guys like Blake Comeau, Joe Colborne, Cody Goloubef, and Fedor Tyutin. Given that they had nothing to lose, more youth should have been injected.
Can they avoid -113?
YES! -112 doesn’t look so good, but it’s one goal better than -113. The Avs set a lot of records in ineptitude this year, but goal differential was not one of them. CONGRATULATIONS, BOYS!
Will the Avalanche win?
Shootout and overtime wins are wins, which means the Avalanche won. The Avs won 20 games all season. Seven came in overtime, one in the shootout. The Avs were 7-2 in the five-minute three-on-three session. I don’t know what this says about the team.Maybe the Avs should petition the league to move games to three-on-three?
It was a miserable season, but it’s over. Hopefully, Joe Sakic and company figure things out in the offseason. They certainly have a lot of work to do.