After three seasons without making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche welcomed a new era in 2013-14 helmed by a pair of franchise legends.
The results, with Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic in charge, were a smashing success. Colorado not only returned to the postseason, but finished with the second-most points in franchise history and won a division title for the first time since Roy and Sakic were on the roster.
Led by a collection of young stars, the Avalanche were one of the most exciting teams in the NHL. They defied analytics during the regular season before the Minnesota Wild ended their season in the Western Conference First Round.
It was an interesting offseason in Colorado. Center Paul Stastny left for the division rival St. Louis Blues on a pretty reasonable contract, and was replaced by Jarome Iginla while wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon slides over to center. P.A. Parenteau was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Daniel Briere.
The Avalanche also acquired defenseman Brad Stuart, so it was clear they were looking for more veterans. Whether the team is improved could also be hindered by what the advanced stats-friendly crowd expects to be a precipitous regression in 2014-15.
Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Avalanche: