There were several bright spots during the 2011-12 season for the Colorado Avalanche, but also some disappointments as general manager Greg Sherman tries to build a consistent winner again in Denver.
Gabriel Landeskog was the League's top rookie, and Ryan O'Reilly took a big step toward stardom. Sherman made a bold move to acquire a young goalie, Semyon Varlamov, and he was able to stay healthy (a big knock against him with the Washington Capitals).
Still, Colorado's more established young talent -- Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson -- didn't produce to their potential, and the Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons. Sherman landed one of the top free-agent forwards available this offseason and bolstered the team's depth on defense.
Given another year of development for one of the youngest teams in the NHL, it could mean a return to the postseason -- something that was a given not that long ago in the Mile High City.