After watching the offseason moves made by the Colorado Avalanche, coach Patrick Roy believes his team may be better now than the one that finished first in the Central Division last season.
Speaking with media at a golf tournament in Quebec on Thursday, Roy lauded the acquisitions made by Colorado management, most notably the signing of veteran forward Jarome Iginla, and the trades made to acquire defenseman Brad Stuart from the San Jose Sharks and forward Daniel Briere from the Montreal Canadiens.
Right Wing - COL
GOALS: 30 | ASST: 31 | PTS: 61
SOG: 209 | +/-: 34
"The addition of Iginla for us is very important," Roy said. "I think he's going to help our younger players continue to grow. It's extremely positive. Brad Stuart on defense will provide stability. He's going to play some big minutes and can play with Erik Johnson on the top pair. We're very confident with these additions. I think we improved the team in an important way."
Roy also mentioned the signings of defenseman Zach Redmond and forward Jesse Winchester as strong depth moves, but signing Iginla was clearly Colorado's major offseason accomplishment. The 37-year-old had a strong season with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14, tying Patrice Bergeron for the team lead with 30 goals. Iginla will be expected to fill a top-six role on a team already featuring some of the best young forwards in hockey, including Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O'Reilly.
Roy specifically mentioned Briere, who was acquired from the Canadiens on June 30 for forward PA Parenteau. Roy said he doesn't yet know what role the 36-year-old will have, but expected he would skate on the wing on a line with center John Mitchell and forward Jamie McGinn.
"We like the team we currently have. We have an excellent core with Duchene, O'Reilly, Landeskog, MacKinnon. Johnson, [Tyson] Barrie and [Nick] Holden on the back end and [Semyon] Varlamov in net," Roy said. "What we're trying to do is bring experience to this group. Guys like [Alex] Tanguay, Iginla, Briere. We're going to continue to add to our group, Stuart on defense. We're very pleased with how we worked."