If you’ve been paying attention to Gone Puck Wild lately, and shame on you if you haven’t, then you know school has begun as Wild fans brush up on their knowledge of the new teams within Minnesota’s division. This week, that new team just so happens to be a former Northwest Division rival–the Colorado Avalanche. Going through Sunday, we’ll break down Colorado’s major additions and subtractions, strengths and weaknesses, prospect pool, 2013 draft class and team outlook.
With the new realignment, Minnesota was handed the building blocks to establish what could very well be some beautiful new rivalries. However, as tag-a-longs from the old Northwest Division, our friends, the Avalanche, had to come along as well. I say the more, the merrier.
Today, we take a look at Colorado’s offseason acquisitions. Perhaps two of the biggest names entering the fold are Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich. Tanguay, originally drafted by the Avalanche 12th overall in 1998, is a veteran of 13 seasons, notching 249 goals and 513 assists for 762 points in 922 career NHL games. Alex makes his return to Colorado after seven seasons spent with the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens. At 33, there’s no question his veteran leadership and goal-scoring touch will be a major asset to the Avs’ forward corps.
Sarich, the 27th overall pick in 1996, is a big blue liner at 6’4″ 207-pounds and is known for his hard-hitting physical presence on the back end. In a division with hard hitters and elite scorers, Sarich will be sure to make his presence felt with every shift he takes. His leadership will likely lend a calming effect on the Avs’ younger blue liners like Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliot.
Since the free agency period opened on July 5th, Colorado has also signed defensemen Andre Benoit, Nate Guenin, and Nick Holden, and forwards JT Wyman and Guillaume Desbiens. Of these players, there’s no question Benoit is perhaps the most intriguing. At 5’11″ and 191-pounds, he’s certainly not the biggest defenseman to ever take to the ice, but he did notch three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 33 games with Ottawa last season. He also suited up in five playoff games for the Sens, notching three assists in the process. Signed to a one-year contract, there is very little risk in his signing and it just could pay off in dividends for a Colorado team looking to make the playoffs.
Well, there you have it–Colorado’s offseason roster additions. You may be thinking I forgot I certain someone, but we’ll get to Mr. MacKinnon when we break down the Avs’ 2013 draft class later in the week. Stay tuned, Colorado Avalanche Week has just begun!