As the Colorado Avalanche enters the offseason after falling 4-2 in its first-round postseason series with the Nashville Predators, Avs executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic reflected on the improvement he saw from his club in the last 12 months.
The Avalanche refocused last summer and battled to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this campaign for the first time since 2014, just a year after finishing the season with 48 points.
"Obviously, we knew last year that we had to get through the year to start fresh, and we did that. Not going to lie to you, we feel a lot better this year than we did last year at that point but, it was Year One of this," Sakic said. "We got a great group of guys. I know things were really, really tough last year, but the guys that came back, we have some really good players that came back.
"They were prepared all last summer… The effort and the commitment that the players, the returning players, had in the summer and training camp and throughout, there was a different mindset. I am really proud of those guys and obviously the new guys that came in, the character guys, and the belief in each other and the will to find ways to win games. It's impressive."