As we approach the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Too Many Men On The Site will be taking a look at the teams that have qualified. Included will be stats, record, and why they will and will not win the Stanley Cup. Lets take a look at the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado Avalanche- 2nd in the Central Division 109 Points *at the time of publishing
- Matt Duchene (23 G, 47 A, 70 Points)
- Gabriel Landeskog (26 G, 39A, 65 points)
- Ryan O’Reilly (28 G, 35 A, 63 points)
Why They Will Win The Cup:
The official Twitter hash tag for the Colorado Avalanche playoff run is appropriately #WhyNotUs. Just one year ago the Avalanche completed a disappointing season that had them planning for the draft lottery. There was never a doubt that Colorado had the talent to contend, so it comes as no surprise that new head coach Patrick Roy has gotten so much out of his team this season. This is the Colorado Avalanche everyone expected.
Currently, Colorado sits at second in the Central Division and faces a first round match up with the Chicago Blackhawks. However, if Colorado can win out and the Blues falter, they can still win the division and face a much easier Wild Card team in the first round. The Western Conference is going to be a meat grinder for whichever team makes it through to the Stanley Cup Final, so keeping the early series as short as possible will be a key to success. A 4-5 game series against the Minnesota Wild or Dallas Stars will improve Colorado’s chances down the road, versus a rough and tumble seven game series with Chicago.
The Avalanche have the 7th best power play percentage in the NHL (20.0%) and the third best in the Western Conference (they trail Phoenix and St. Louis). Their 3.01 goals per game is the 4th best overall (Chicago, Anaheim, and Boston have more), but they are in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals against per game, 14th overall with 2.61. [ NHL.com ]
Why They Will Not Win The Cup:
This year has been a quick turn around for the Avalanche, that is one thing that we must keep in perspective. It is very rare for a team to go from worst to first. Colorado has the talent and depth to contend, but they still need to grow as a team. The trend in the NHL has been to qualify for the playoffs, lose early on, come back and contend the following year, and then finally reach the pinnacle in the third or fourth attempt. I see the Avalanche following this path and being a serious Cup contender in 2-3 years time. The West is going to be a rough and difficult road to the Stanley Cup Final, and I do not believe the Avalanche have what it takes right now to weather that storm and then defeat a team like Boston or Pittsburgh in the Cup Final. The Eastern Conference teams are going to have a much easier road to the Cup.