The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of a breakthrough. Having participated in the playoffs for the last three years, a group led by veteran brawlers Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan Mackinnon appears ready to take the next step.
General manager Joe Sakic played his entire 21-year NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche Franchise and captained the team to their last championship, all the way back in 2001.
With the 2020-21 season starting in November, Sakic doesn’t have a lot of time to make changes to avoid another disappointing Game 7 loss. Mackinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen aren’t going anywhere, as they still have a few years left on their contracts. The trio brings consistency, strength, and versatility game in and game out.
Nazem Kadri, who came over from Toronto in July, and showcased his abilities, is unlikely to leave Denver. Landeskog, the heart and soul of Avalanche Country, has one year left on his contract, and though it’s doubtful, it might be hard for Sakic to say no if the price is right.
JT Compher and Joonas Donskoi both carry a lot of speed and versatility behind them. Though strong and able to carry their weight, neither could maintain a “role” during the postseason. It might make sense for Sakic to move one of these third liners.
If Colorado keeps the bulk of its productive players, they’ll have a fantastic season come 2021. But if they try to rebuild something that doesn’t need fixing, they’ll be moving back to square one for no reason.