The 2013-2014 season has gone about as well for the Colorado Avalanche as they could have possibly imagined. After finishing with the worst record in the Western Conference and gaining the first-overall draft pick, the Avalanche currently sit at 24-11-4, with 52 points, have set several franchise records for wins and points to start off a season and, should the season end today, would be right in the thick of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Still, even with such a great start to the season, the Avalanche still have some things that they can work towards in 2014, so here are their resolutions for the year of 2014.
Help Out The Goalies Better
The Colorado Avalanche have been carried by two things this season. Some timely scoring and some truly stellar play from both of their goaltenders. With the season beginning to move into the second half of things, it is now time for the rest of the skaters on the Avalanche to help out the goalies the way the goalies have helped the team out. Currently, the Avalanche are tied for 24th in the NHL in shots against per game, allowing 32.2 shots on their net each game. Now, goalies will frequently tell you that they do enjoy having a certain amount of work during a game because it helps them to find a rhythm and stay focused. How many times have you been watching a game where one team hasn’t allowed a shot in a long time and the commentators say something about how hard it is for a goalie to see nothing and then face a few shots? It is one of the biggest cliches in hockey. At the same time, goalies certainly appreciate it when they aren’t being peppered all game, every game. Currently, the Avalanche defense is doing a pretty good job at limiting the high quality shots and scoring chances, but they can still do better and should resolve to allow fewer shots on goal in 2014.
Get Alex Tanguay Back
The Avalanche have been been a very healthy team for the majority of the season, and have lost the third least amount of man-games lost to injury in the NHL. Still, the loss of Alex Tanguay has had a strong impact on this team. Tanguay is one of those players that is a huge catalyst for all kinds of offense. He sees the ice so well and is one of the best passers in the NHL. He is also just always in the right place at the right time, allowing the players on the ice with him a certain amount of comfort because he just does things the right way.
He also helps power plays work better whenever he is on the ice because of his vision. While Tanguay was in the lineup, the Avalanche were rolling, the struggles didn’t begin until he went down with a knee injury. Now it was never a secret that the Avalanche were going to slow down from their crazy fast start, but Tanguay is the type of player that helps stabilize a team because he always gives the same effort every game. Tanguay will make a huge difference to the lineup when he does get back on the ice.
Improve the Defense
This kind of goes hand in hand with the first resolution, but this particular resolution is much more in a personnel context than anything else. The Avalanche defense has definitely performed much better than initially expected, but if this team wants to make a run deep into the playoffs, they are going to need to upgrade their personnel. This is something that many people have been talking about for most of the season, and something that the Avalanche still need to look at. With players like Dmitry Kulikov available and other teams likely to figure out that they are going to be sellers at the trade deadline, the Avalanche still have time to make sure that they find the right move to make.
Make The Playoffs
This is something that the Avalanche should absolutely be viewing as a real possibility. After a three seasons out of the playoffs, and a couple of seasons where they were out of the playoff picture long before the season was over, the prospect of making the playoffs should be very exciting. If the Avalanche can take attain these resolutions, making the playoffs shouldn’t be an issue. 2014 is looking to be a happy new year for the Colorado Avalanche.
I’m a Denver native who has been a fan of the Avalanche since they came to town and a fan of the game before that. I started writing my own blog a couple years ago before moving to Bleacher Report and becoming a Featured Columnist there. You can also find me the Burgundy Brigade Podcast