With training camps right around the corner, you can almost smell the hockey that is to come. It’s that time of year when hockey fans from all around the world wait desperately for the puck to drop, even if it’s just a scrimmage.
For the Colorado Avalanche, they will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in the NHL, and what a great season it could be. Here are 10 reasons Avalanche fans should feel excited for their new season to begin.
Joe Sakic & Patrick Roy
Since Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy took control of the team 2 seasons ago, the franchise has been turned around considerably. The team now has top talent needed to build a cup contending team in the near future.
They have done a good job putting some missing pieces to the puzzle together, however they still must improve, as I’m sure they plan to.
This year Avalanche fans have every right to be optimistic about making the playoffs. They are young, talented, and hungry for success. Everything is there for the new regime to take another step forward.
Training Camp Battles
One thing fans of every NHL team have in common is the excitement for watching or reading about the battles that go on in training camp. These battles shape the lineup for the upcoming season and are great barometers to see where the prospects stand within the system.
For Colorado fans especially with all the new additions, it’s going to bring that little bit extra excitement to camp.
Of course Avalanche fans will be much more optimistic about their teams’ defensive game for this season as they’ve added some nice pieces. Players such as Francois Beauchemin and Nikita Zadorov were acquired and they instantly improve the Avalanche defense by quite a bit.
Add in Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie and you are looking at a very different team back there. This should mean Semyon Varlamov not having to stand on his head every other game too.
Outstanding Young Core
The staple of the Avalanche these past few years has been the outstanding young core they possess. Since the O’Reilly trade, they might have even improved in this department. With captain Gabe Landeskog now surrounded by Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikhail Grigorenko, Mikko Rantanen, Tyson Barrie, and Nikita Zadorov.
Grigorenko has the potential to become a very big part of the Avs young core especially under his old coach, that is why he is listed. Even though he is still a question mark, the talent is clearly there. Either way, it doesn’t take away the fact that the Avalanche have a very solid base to build upon now with their exciting young core of players.
Opening Night VS Minnesota Wild
Everybody knows what happened in the playoffs and in the first two games of the following year. The hockey gods have given the Avs a chance at revenge right out the gate. Thumping the Wild on opening night would be a great feeling for all of those involved with Colorado. Possibly even creating the spark to a great start of the new year.
Slick New Third Jerseys
— Icethetics (@icethetics) August 11, 2015
Though the team itself has not come out and confirmed these are the actual jerseys, Icethetics is a solid source when it comes to jerseys. Let’s hope they are right on the money with this one as this design, with the combining of the old Rockies logo and the Colorado state flag look brilliant.
There is also the change to the old ‘Yeti Foot’ shoulder patch which has been replaced with the C from the Colorado state flag on all of the jerseys.
Stadium Series Game VS Detroit Red Wings
“We have had an outstanding rivalry with the Red Wings during those years. We are looking forward to experiencing this grand outdoor setting and a special weekend of hockey in Denver.” – Joe Sakic
The most exciting event on the calendar is without a doubt the Stadium Series at Coors Field with the Avalanche hosting their old rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. Definitely one of hockey’s most bitter rivalries, this one is finally being taken outside.
Not only will the new era of Avalanche players be taking the ice at Coors field, but also some of the greats from each side will be facing off for all to see one last time. Avalanche greats such as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, and Patrick Roy will all be taking part of this special occasion. The full rosters for both teams will be released as the year moves along.
What Avalanche fans should be most excited for is plain and simple, playoff hockey. There will be no excuses this year, the Avalanche did set a record for injuries last season, however now that everyone is healthy, missing the playoffs this year would be considered a failure.
“I really want to make sure that’s the last time we’re missing the playoffs. I’m here to win the Stanley Cup” – Patrick Roy
Though Avs fans should be excited already, they should have even more excitement for the future. The team is in good hands, is young, and should only be getting stronger all around. That is cause for concern for the rest of the league, but cause for joy amongst the Colorado Avalanche and their fan base.
This will be one exciting 20th anniversary, that’s for sure.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble