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2017-2018 NHL Preview: Colorado Avalanche

Things are not looking good for the Colorado Avalanche this year

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2017-2018 NHL Preview: Colorado Avalanche

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Up first is the team who finished dead last in just about every category imagineable.

Basic Stats:
2016-2017 NHL Standings: 30th
Western Conference Standings: 14th
Central Division Standings: 7th
GF Rank: 30th
GA Rank: 30th

Overview: It was a grim and dismal year for the Colorado Avalanche who were gifted with...not the 1st overall 2017 NHL Draft pick, nor the second, nor the third. Things have since taken a severe turn downward through the last 2 seasons and unfortunately it looks like it's extended into the offseason where no major changes seem to have occurred. . Joe Sakic is working the offseason to refresh and improve this squad first and foremost by shopping Matt Duchene, the 3rd overall pick in the 2009 draft who netted 70 points 4 seasons ago only to drop down to 55, 59 and 41 points respectively. Jonathan Bernier gives them some help in net over a very tumultuous tenure with Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard.

Major Additions: Jonathan Bernier
Major Subtractions: Mikhail Grigrenko

Prospects and Picks:
-The Avalanche selected Cale Makar with the 4th over all pick in the draft. He will need a year or two of development but was considered one of the top two available defense in the draft. He fulfills a need from the Avalanche to solidify the back end with some young talent.

-Mikko Rantanen capped off a solid rookie year with 38 points across 75 games to finish 4th on the team in points. He should move his way on to the top line minutes this year as his continues to grow and mature. He will certainly need to work on his plus minus coming out of a -25 first year.

-Tyson Jost finally cracked the roster last year with one goal across 6 games. Given the depleted nature of the roster he should become the 2nd line center. The national champion out of North Dakota should keep his plus minus in check as he plays good two way hockey. He sees the ice well and has grit which he needs to offset his smaller stature.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:
The unfortunate part of being the basement team is that there isn't much there in terms of production. With that said, Mikko Rantanen could work his way up to a 50 point season and can be retained at a deep draft spot. He scored 20 goals last year and I could see that rise up to 25 in the oncoming year.
If Nathan MacKinnon slips past pick 100 make sure to scoop him up, the number one pick always has potential to put up a big point season, especially if this team finds it's way mid-season. Additionally he gets a lot of face-offs

Cap Situation:
They currently have around $15MM in cap space with 17 players signed

Projected finish:
2017-2018 NHL Standings: 31st
Western Conference Standings: 15th
Central Division: 7th