Last season for the Colorado Avalanche had lots of ups and downs, and plenty of what-ifs as well. What if they were injured to hell and back? What if they had gotten some more depth scoring?
But there’s one I think hasn’t been looked at much at all: what if Colorado didn’t win the Central Division?
They have won their division three years in a row, earning them a matchup with one of the wild card teams in the first round of the playoffs. However, the third time was not the charm as they were eliminated by the Seattle Kraken in seven games in the first round.
They only won the Central Division by one point over the Dallas Stars thanks to a regular season-finale win over the Nashville Predators, which made all the difference. Of course, hockey players and teams will always want to win no matter the outcome in the future. But, what if they hadn’t won the last game of the year, or dropped points elsewhere throughout the season?
Had they dropped down to second in the division, instead of hosting the Kraken it would have been the division-rival Minnesota Wild. The Wild had incurred multiple speed bumps throughout the season, just trudging into the playoffs. They lost to the Stars in six games, being outclassed along the way.
Colorado likely would’ve sent the Wild packing as well, as they had their number all year and would want revenge from their first-round matchup nine years ago. Furthermore, they could've avoided more what-ifs such as the obvious one involving Valeri Nicuhshkin. They then would’ve run into one of the Stars or Kraken in the second round.
Of course, there would have been several different parameters and teams would’ve played differently than they did. Injuries could have played a role, along with Nichushkin being available or not. Would they have been beaten by the eventual second-round winning Stars without home-ice advantage, found the same fate as they did against the Kraken, or found a way to make it to the Western Conference Final for the second year in a row?
It’s hard to think about what could’ve happened or predict what would’ve happened in a hypothetical situation, but it’s fair to ask what if the Avs hadn’t won the Central Division and faced the Kraken in the first round? Would we be looking at the previous season in a different light or the same as we have been?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!