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Central Preview: Colorado Avalanche

by Staff Writer / Winnipeg Jets

Central Division at a Glance: Colorado Avalanche

2012-13 record: 16-25-7

39 points

GF: 116 GA: 152

2011-12 record: 41-35-6

88 points

GF: 208 GA: 220

2013-14 games vs. Jets

Sunday, October 27th @ Colorado 7 pm
Thursday, December 12th vs. Winnipeg 7 pm

Sunday, December 29th @ Colorado 7 pm
Monday, March 10th @ Colorado 8 pm
Wednesday, March 19th vs. Winnipeg 7 pm

Top Forwards: Paul Stastny, PA Parenteau, Alex Tanguay, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly.

Matt Duchene, who had 43 points last season to tie Parenteau for the team lead, was signed to a five-year contract extension in July.

Top Defensemen: One of their biggest acquisitions on the blueline is 34-year-old Cory Sarich, who has more than 900 games of experience.

They’ll look for healthy bounce-back seasons from defensemen Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson and look for young Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliot to have strong, successful seasons.

Top Goaltenders: Semyon Varlamov is the starting goaltender, and with the help of new head coach Patrick Roy, he could have a breakout season. The Avalanche will look for him to have a strong season similar to his first in 2011-12 when he posted 26 wins, 2.59 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.

New Brass: Since the end of the 2012-13 NHL season, the Colorado Avalanche fired their coach, Joe Sacco, and replaced him with their former goaltender and Hockey Hall of Fame member, Patrick Roy.

Young Players: With the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Avalanche chose 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon, adding him to their young core of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly.

The Avalanche secured their Swedish forward Landeskog to a new 7-year, 39 million dollar contract on August 15th.

Players To Watch: Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Semyon Varlamov

Key Additions: The Avalanche added to their offensive depth by reacquiring forward Alex Tanguay, from the Calgary Flames. Tanguay played six full seasons with the Avalanche spanning from 1999-2006, combining for 400 points. He scored a pair of goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to punctuate their 2001 championship.

Tanguay was acquired from the Flames with veteran defenseman Cory Sarich on June 27th. Twenty-nine year old defenseman Andrew Benoit also came in from the Ottawa Senators.

Key Departures: The team said goodbye to one of the top offensive players in team history, veteran Milan Hejduk. The other half of the Calgary trade included forward David Jones and defenseman Shane O’Brien.

Also leaving the Avalanche is winger Aaron Palushaj, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes, and defenseman Greg Zanon.

Big Questions: Will new coach, Patrick Roy, be able to lead his team into a playoff berth?

Will 1st overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon have the breakout rookie season everyone expects from him?

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