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It’s gut-check time for this Avalanche team

It’s Mile High Hockey Lab time, and we just released our 14th installment!

Vegas Golden Knights v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Ashley Potts/NHLI via Getty Images

For the 2023 Colorado Avalanche, it might be easy to say repeating isn't on the table after a turbulent beginning to their regular season. Who could blame an injury-riddled squad coming off a shortened off-season? The built-in excuses are right there, just like they were for Tampa in the Stanley Cup Final last season. The next few months will tell us how serious this Avalanche squad is about repeating and setting themselves up as the NHL's next dynastic franchise.

In this week's Mile High Hockey Lab episode, our writers spoke briefly about the All-Star festivities that featured Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. Host Ezra mentioned not being all that drawn to watch such a low-stakes and slightly dull event. Adrian said that the MLB used to award home-field advantage in the World Series to whichever conference won the All-Star game. That led our panel to brainstorm how the NHL might add competitive value to the star-studded tournament.

We wanted to see what Avalanche fans expected from this year's club now that the season's second and most significant half is upon us. Our writers then began to discuss how the Avalanche might respond to the All-Star break, which led us to our live poll of the week. The poll asked if fans thought the Avalanche would repeat, represent the west, make the conference final, or win a playoff round. We asked those who might think they will miss the playoffs to explain themselves.

We doubled back to the Bo Horvat trade to discuss the figures on his recent signing, and managing editor Evan mentioned that Dylan Strome's recent re-signing and contract should be a good barometer for what J.T. Compher might get from the Avs or on the open market. At $25 million for five years, the Avalanche could afford to keep Compher, but I doubt the Avalanche would agree to that term.

The panel discussed some possible trade targets for Colorado, but at this point, who knows who they might be targeting or what the strategy is this season? Is this another cup or bust year, or just another step in that direction?

The Avalanche will play a whopping 16 games in 31 calendar days in March. The dust will settle on the deadline dealings midway through that month. That's about when we will know about this Avalanche squad. Are they going to get healthy and hot at the perfect time and dominate the west again? Or has it just been too much this season?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Don't forget to listen to this week's episode for even more Avalanche talk! Like, subscribe, and share! All episodes are broadcast live on our YouTube channel, so head over there and subscribe.