We all know that the Avalanche will likely be in the top three for goals scored this upcoming season. An abundance of weapons, and I don't think anybody is questioning our offense this year.
As always, goaltending is a question. Now, I don't think it's right to go ahead and assume failure with our young duo, but at the same time we must allow room for error in case David Aebischer or Phillipe Sauve do slip. Pierre Lacroix would not hesitate to bring in a quality starting netminder, as he has always addressed our needs at the deadline.
When you look at our defense corps, we have three guys who can be considered above-average in their own zones. Adam Foote, Rob Blake and Karlis Skrastins(from what I've seen and read) are all highly dependable in our own zone, but Blake is also counted on for a significant amount of offense. That leaves basically two rear-guards who think defense first, with Foote having a career year last season(11 G 20 A 31 P +30) and likely to push up at times too.
JM Liles, Derek Morris and Martin Skoula are all considered offense-first defensemen. Therefore...
...considering the *inexperience* of the goaltending and the lack of defensive-minded defensemen, do you feel the Avalanche will have enough of a defensive commitment to be successful?
I think Granato and Toch really have to hammer it home. It's the only thing that's been stated as a weakness by others. Honestly, I don't think it will be a problem--but then again I'm predicting Aebischer will hold his own. If he can't, obviously the boys in front of him need to step it up a notch given their abilities. I wouldn't mind adding another strong crease clearing stay at home type on the third pairing however to play on the occasional odd game. McAllister IMO isn't sufficient enough in this department.
I think this more has to do with coaching than actual talent on the blueline. Tony Granato et al have to put a system in place, and there has to be total buy-in. Not to Hitchcockian restrictions, certainly, but there has to be more commitment shown that what was displayed during the playoffs last season, and even the red-hot latter half of the season, where Roy bailed Colorado out time and time again.
It's a wild homeristic guess, but I think if any team can demolish "the trap" it'll be this years Avalanche, and flexibility with defence as offence and offence as defence will be favored instead of sitting back and waiting for it.