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Morning Flurries: The Senators are who we thought they were

That draft pick looks more valuable every single day

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche are right in the middle of a weird quirk in their schedule. Four days off, a back-to-back then three more days off. It’s not exactly the most exiting time for Avs fans - especially since the team lost both of their games this week.

During his time in Vancouver, Nathan MacKinnon spoke with Pro Hockey Talk about his breakout season and what he feels it means for himself and the Avalanche going forward. [NBC Sports]

With a few days off, and a shroud of secrecy over the team’s many injuries, there isn’t a whole lot or noteworthy news in Colorado.

Luckily we have the Ottawa Senators to cheer us up.

After a surprisingly decent start to the season, the Senators have begun to show us exactly what we expected. They have now lost five of their last six games, culminating in an embarrassing 9-2 loss in Buffalo yesterday afternoon.

Ottawa is a very bad team and they only stand to get worse. Matt Duchene and Mark Stone are their best two players and neither is likely to be around at the end of February thanks to their pending free agency.

Just in case you forgot why this is such great news for the Avalanche:

Yesterday’s performance definitely helped Avs fans recover - even if only a tiny bit - from the losses in Calgary and Vancouver.

While having the extra picks is a great thing, you have to be able to execute on draft day. That’s not something the Avalanche have a great track record of over the past decade. yesterday I took a look at the disaster that was the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and gave the Avalanche a mulligan on each of their (really bad) five picks. [MHH]

In terms of draft picks that look like they’re going to pay off, Cale Makar continues to dominate the NCAA. Last night he scored his fourth of the season in a 5-1 victory over New Hampshire. Makar is now up to 13 points in seven games.

Elsewhere in the NCAA, after fighting his way back from injuries Denis Smirnov looks to finally have things on track. He scored last night in a 4-3 loss to Arizona State and is now up to 4 points through his first five games of the season at Penn State.

Over in Minnesota, Sampo Ranta suffered his first point-less regular season NCAA game as the Gophers dropped a 2-1 decision to Minnesota State.

November is Hockey Fights Cancer month. We are going to hear a ton of great stories as the hockey world comes together to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. One of which is Logan Pyett’s story.

Pyett is an AHL defenseman who overcame synovial sarcoma in order to continue his hockey career. Now he hopes to play a big role in the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. [NHL]

This summer’s free agent class has the potential to be one of the best in recent memory. A ton of high-end talent could hit the open market on July 1 making for a very interesting offseason. Last night, that free agent class took a hit as the Tampa Bay Lightning announced a contract extension for pending UFA Yanni Gourde. the 26-year old undrafted forward shocked everyone with his 64 points rookie season last year. Now he is on a point per game pace (13 in 13) and has been rewarded with a big new contract worth $31 million over the next six seasons. [Raw Charge]

Oh and Pekka Rinne is back from his injury and is looking great. He shut out the Boston Bruins in his return to Nashville’s net last night. That’s probably not a good thing for the Avalanche and any other team in the Central Division.