Avalanche: Position-by-position analysis | VailDaily.com

Avalanche: Position-by-position analysis

Last place.

That’s where the Avalanche finished in the Western Conference last season, and that’s where a lot of pundits predict the team will finish again this season.

This is a team that finished last in the NHL in goals, then lost future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic, the team captain; and co-leading scorer Ryan Smyth.

In their place are young, talented, eager kids such as Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, and there is a sense that better days are ahead – eventually – for the franchise. There will be growing pains with this team in the mighty Western Conference, but at least it shouldn’t lack for enthusiasm and hard work.

The Avalanche has only two forwards older than 30 – Milan Hejduk and Darcy Tucker – so energy shouldn’t be lacking up front.

It’s hard to believe the Avs will have an 18-year-old (Duchene) for their No. 2 center, but the kid showed he is capable of putting up points at this level in the preseason.

For more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_13448868

Support Local Journalism