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06-11-2012, 08:38 PM
  #7
McDonagh
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Avs Build Strong Offensive Depth

The Avs made a few big moves to start the season. With 5-6 NHL capable RWers, there was an obvious need for some guys to play on the left side. LW depth is thin all around the league, so the Avs made it a point to be strong on that side.

The first deal saw the Avs moving recently acquired Steve Downie, RW, for Rene Bourque, LW, a 3rd, and a 4th. Bourque has a questionable contract and is the older player, but he can contribute more right now and is viewed as a very nice top 6 LW. The draft picks were gravy. Downie is a great player with a great future and no hard feelings to that guy.

The next trade was a blockbuster that will affect both teams for the rest of the game. Taylor Hall was moved to the Avalanche for Ryan O'Reilly, Mark Olver, Stefan Elliott, and a 1st round pick. Former 1st overall pick, Taylor Hall has had the injury bug his first 2 years in the league. However, the 20 year old speed demon still put up great numbers. The Avs are very excited to pick up another franchise cornerstone to go along with Duchene and Landeskog. It is sad to see O'Reilly go, but with young centers Duchene and Stastny already in the mix, a center had to go. The Avs also had 3 blue-chip defensemen prospects in Elliott, Barrie, and Siemens. They felt they could afford to trade one. You have to give to get. Losing the 1st can be tough, but the Avalanche feel this is a playoff team with 14m in capspace and a nice young group.

Minor deals to round out the roster were also made. Bruno Gervais and TJ Hensick were added as depth players at the expense of mid-late round draft picks.

The Avalanche feel like they can make a deep playoff run with 4 lines that can contribute offense and a solid defense. There is a question mark in goal but Varlamov is the future and the Avalanche shall live and die with him.

PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS SEASON

Paul Stastny
Penciled in as the #1 center, has Stastny already reached his plateau? He is still only 26 years old and can play at the top of the league for another 10 years. Is he ready to take it to the next level? with a revamped lineup on the wings it is expected he will. Look for a PPG season.

Peter Mueller
Injuries have setback the young American forward. Dangled around the league as trade-bait before the season, nobody wanted to take much of a chance on the post-concussed Mueller. He hopes to prove everyone wrong and is slotted in as the 2nd RWer centered by Matt Duchene with Rene Bourque on the other side. This might be a do or die season for Mueller, who still has loads of potential.

Erik Johnson
Former 1st overall pick Erik Johnson will be heavily relied on this season. Defensive super-star, Johnson is also capable of putting up respectable defenseman numbers. He hasn't quite gotten hold of that in Colorado so far, but without a doubt he is still considered a franchise player. We don't even need Shattenkirk or Stewart anyway.

Semyon Varlamov
The Avalanche live and die with this guy. Loads of potential, a history of injuries, still very young. It will be interesting to see how he handles this season. Some nights it looks like he is carrying the team, sometimes it looks like the team is carrying him. He needs to be consistent if he wants to win a Stanley Cup.


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