Colorado Avalanche could be heading from Cup to Bust

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Jan 5, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland (8) and forward Sheldon Dries (15) and Colorado Avalanche forward J.T. Compher (37) and defenseman Andreas Englund (88) and defenseman Samuel Girard (49) watch as Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko (96) scores his first goal on Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) in the second period at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche are walking a dangerous path this season after raising the Stanley Cup high at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Currently, the Avalanche have a record of 20-17-3 for 43 points. They sit seven points back of the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division and a guaranteed playoff berth with a game in hand. Another path to the post season is a wild card spot and they’re four points behind the Edmonton Oilers with a three games advantage.

As the losses pile up and the injuries continue to mount, they may pull off a feat last shamefully accomplished by the Los Angeles Kings. In 2014-15, the Kings missed the playoffs after winning the Cup the previous season.

Avalanche going from Cup to Bust?

It wasn’t that long ago when the euphoria of lifting the Stanley Cup was felt by everyone in Colorado. The team captured for their first championship since the 2000-01 season.

Fast forward a few months later and the Avs are missing a lot of key players from that Cup winning squad either via free agency or injury. They’re simply not the same team.

Despite the valiant efforts of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen, the Avs desperately miss their captain Gabriel Landeskog. Head coach Jared Bender updated Landeskog’s recovery from knee surgery earlier this month by saying, “He’s nowhere close to returning.”

Of course, he’s not the only one hurting with key pieces on defense Josh Manson and Bowen Byram also out.

The Avs need to get healthy if they hope to make a run up the standings.

Will the Avs make the playoffs?

nathan mackinnon stanley cup odds
Jun 26, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the Avalanche game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs are struggling mightily with just one win in their last eight games (1-6-1) including losses to the Canucks and Blackhawks. Everyday they wake up and find themselves further down in the standings, with ten other teams ahead of them in the Western Conference to date.

Salary cap issues ravaged the depth they had with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky lost to free agency. In goal, Alexandar Georgiev has performed well, but I’m sure the Avs would’ve rather have been able to hold on to Darcy Kuemper instead of letting him walk to the Capitals.

So how likely are the Avs to make playoffs this season? Let me put it to you this way, last year the Nashville Predators secured the second wild card with 97 points. As of today, the Avs are on pace to only get 88 points.

Colorado needs to get going if they hope to make a push, but it might already be a little too late.

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