DENVER -- Despite losing free agent Paul Stastny to the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues, Joe Sakic believes the Colorado Avalanche are better than they were when they lost to the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round.
Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice president of hockey operations, said Wednesday the additions of forwards Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere and Jesse Winchester, along with defensemen Brad Stuart and Zach Redmond, have improved Colorado's size, depth, experience and toughness.
"We saw how last year went and we had a tremendous year," Sakic said of the Avalanche's surprising first-place finish in the division, "but at the end of the year after our playoff loss to Minnesota we knew we needed to have a little more depth on our third and fourth lines, and we felt we needed to get tougher.
"We feel we got tougher, and for sure the experience factor -- leadership -- you can never have enough of that. We know our core guys are young. To bring in this leadership to help them along is huge. Now you're not relying on one or two or three guys to be leaders. We have a whole bunch of leaders helping our young guys. There were a lot of things we tried to accomplish, which we think we did."