Colorado Avalanche: Battles To Watch Throughout Camp

September 17th, 2010 by James Crider Leave a reply »
One season removed from a 15th place finish in the Western Conference, the mood will be in stark contrast to a year ago when the Avalanche officially begin training camp tomorrow.

A roster filled with question marks due to the departures of long-time veterans Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, Colorado Avalanche management and head coach Joe Sacco dug deep in the system, filling key roles with AHL journeymen like Matt Hendricks and Chris Durno, while relying heavily on recently drafted rookie forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly, as well as the goaltending of free-agent signee Craig Anderson.

The result was a success. Spring-boarded by an NHL-best 10-2-2 record in October, the Avalanche snuck into the playoffs with a 95-point finish.

This summer, coach Sacco's job description changes from architect to interior designer.

With Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene leading a talented offensive corps, Sacco won't have to dig into the system to try to produce rookie scoring players like he (successfully) accomplished last year in players like Brandon Yip and T.J. Galiardi. However, the Avalanche lost many veteran forwards to free agency over the summer& ...

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