Colorado Avalanche hockey is back featuring Joe Sakic’s plan! The Colorado Avalanche season started on January 13th of 2021, and it’s been a fantastic week for the Avs Faithful so far. The Avs are 2-1-0, with their most recent win against the Los Angeles Kings last night, 1/19. The Avalanche currently have a +6 goal differential and lots of offense left in the tank. Their 8-0 win against the Blues on 1/15 will be instrumental to building and maintaining momentum going forward. In addition, trading Ian Cole for the Minnesota Wild’s Greg Pateryn will allow young supernovas like Bowen Byram to enter the defensive lineup.
While Pierre-Édouard Bellemare was sad about not playing on Lake Tahoe for the NHL Outdoors event, we absolutely have to be happy with the Avs’ performance this week.
After taking a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on opening night, the Avs were able to rally back and win the following game 8-0. Then, they beat the Kings in a 3-2 thriller. The team is firing on all cylinders, and every player is looking game ready. Key leadership pieces like Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are major point producers. As well, new pickups like Devon Toews were able to make their marks on the scoresheet. Philipp Grubauer has been solid in the net as well, recording his 12th career shutout this week and two wins total. It will be interesting to see how Pavel Francouz provides Gru with relief when the time comes.
The Avs defense is about to be rejuvenated with youth. The Avalanche will be receiving Greg Pateryn in exchange for Ian Cole in a one to one defenseman swap. Pateryn isn’t the young one joining the Avs defense, however. Prospect Bowen Byram will potentially be joining as the Avs’ 6th man on defense. Byram demonstrated excellence during the World Junior Championship, serving as captain and yielding 5 points in 7 games. The Avs also gain a small amount of cap space, which could prove invaluable either at the Deadline or when dealing with injuries or COVID relief.
Ian Cole was an important component of building the Avs to where they are today. Cole played 138 games in an Avs sweater over three seasons and was both a fan and locker room favorite. The Avalanche lost Stanley Cup-caliber veteran leadership, but Pateryn could make his mark as a member of the taxi squad if kept.
Consistency and durability will be questioned throughout this year, as is tradition with the Avs roster. Special teams were extremely important against the Blues and the Kings, and this needs to be maintained at that level for future success. The boys need to stay healthy throughout the season to keep the caliber of play at a high level, especially in goaltenders Grubauer and Francouz.
I have high hopes for this Colorado Avalanche team in the 2021 season. I’m hoping for more wins next week, Go Avs Go!
My name is Aaron Fesh, and I am a contributor to West Division NHL content for Belly Up Sports. I spent the 2019-20 season with the National Hockey League as a member of their NHL Power Players Youth Advisory Board. I am proud to be a member of Belly Up Sports for this upcoming 2021 season. Please follow @AaronFesh and @BellyUpHockey on Twitter for more content like this!