Over the last year, the Colorado Avalanche—and GM Joe Sakic in particular—have taken a lot of heat from media and fans for their performance on and off the ice. Heading into 2017 with a 12-23-1 record, they would go 10-33-3 over the last few months of the 2016-17 season to finish what was a historically bad campaign. Their players seemed to quit on the ice, and rumors of discontent in Jared Bednar’s locker room were rampant. Matt Duchene, one of the long-time faces of the franchise asked for a fresh start elsewhere, but was forced to finish the year and wasn’t promised anything going forward. In June, the team lost a young goaltender in Calvin Pickard to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and were bumped all the way out of the top-3 in the draft lottery despite their last-place finish. Duchene trade rumors persisted, but Sakic wouldn’t lower his high asking price. Still, on the draft floor the Avalanche would be able to select exactly what they needed at fourth-overall. Cale Makar, an undersized defenseman whose most noticeable flaw was that he hadn’t played against high-level competition, dropped into their laps. They’d be even more excited when Conor Timmins, a more traditional two-way defenseman from the OHL would slip out of the first round entirely. Timmins had climbed to 18th on the CSS rankings among North American skaters—and fourth among North American defensemen—by the end of the 2016-17 season, and yet still fell all the way to Colorado at 32nd-overall. The rest of the summer went relatively uneventful, with all eyes still on Duchene, and the season began with a relatively similar Avalanche squad. The on-ice performance wouldn’t look anything like the end of the previous year though, as Colorado would go 8-5-0 through their first 13 games, led by a determined Duchene and energized Nathan MacKinnon. Then, on November 5th against the New York Islanders, Blake Comeau would be helped off the ice and down the tunnel to assess an injury. Behind him, Duchene would slip away as well, just informed that he’d been traded to the Ottawa Senators mid-game.
An Avalanche Is Beginning In Colorado
Pro Hockey Rumors | Jan 2