As many families around the world wake up to discover what delights Santa placed under their Christmas tree, the Colorado Avalanche are deserving of a few gifts off their own wish list.
With already 114 man games lost including multiple week absences from Mikko Rantanen, Gabe Landeskog, Erik Johnson, Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer, Pavel Francouz and Colin Wilson among other bumps and bruises the Avalanche could use a little injury fortune for the second half of the season.
2. A trophy for Cale Makar
He is expected to return to the ice after the holiday break and hopefully pick up where he left off with 28 points in 29 games. Cale Makar should continue to be the front runner for the Calder trophy but could also get votes for the Norris, Lady Byng and heck why not the Conn Smythe if we are dreaming big. Surely the Stanley Cup would suffice too but either way Makar’s special rookie season seems destined for some kind of hardware.
3. A World Junior Championship gold medal
Four Avalanche prospects are participating in hockey’s most prestigious junior tournament and each could bring home the gold. Justus Annunen and Sampo Ranta for Finland, Bowen Byram for Canada plus Danila Zhuravlyov for Russia all play each other in the group stage and could go the distance to earn gold.
4. A top prospect call-up
It’s been a season of ups and downs for Martin Kaut, Shane Bowers and Conor Timmins as each has dealt with injury and fitting in to the Avalanche minor league system and offensive opportunities. However each have now had their moments to shine and could be ready for a call-up should the need arise in the new year, which would give them a leg up on earning a role on the Avalanche in the 2020-21 season and use of these assets.
5. A televised broadcast
The dispute between Altitude TV and both carriers Comcast and Dish Network continue to rage on into the new year with no end in sight. The Avalanche are a top five team in the league and are the highest scoring club and many local fans still are not able to watch the games in their own homes. Enough is enough.
6. A Central Division crown
Two wild card berths the last two seasons were nice but the Avalanche have their sights set on greater things and that begins with a divisional playoff spot. Even better, the first division title since the 2013-14 season would be even sweeter.